STATE NEWS

Kansas National Guard to Support KDHE Testing Sites and Assist with the Shipment and PPE Delivery
Read the press release from Governor Kelly’s Office.

FEDERAL NEWS

Federal Public Health Emergency Renewed for Another 90 Days 
The federal PHE is extended untilApril 16th. This is the eighth time it has been extended since the original declaration in the beginning of 2020. Note: 90 days is the maximum length of time the federal PHE can be extended at one time. Read More.

HHS Therapeutics Locator for Providers 
HHS has set up a landing page for providers to use to locate therapeutics. It shows the 7,507 locations in which therapeutic products are available, how much of each product is available at that location, and total available and allotted doses in the country.

VACCINE NEWS

Vaccine Mandate Clarifications for Nursing Homes
LeadingAge National met with CMS yesterday and received clarifications from the Division of Nursing Homes on a few outstanding vaccine mandate questions, as below. (Note: The vaccine mandate interim final rule is now in effect for Kansas providers.) Kansas providers must meet phase 1 requirements by February 14th and phase 2 by March 15th.

  • Tracking vaccination status of non-employee staff: CMS requires a process for tracking vaccination status of all staff, including non-employee contract staff. Two major considerations will be 1) Do you have a process? and 2) Does your process work? CMS has confirmed that this may mean you do not maintain copies of vaccination cards for contract staff on site, provided you have other ways of ensuring that these staff are vaccinated and that the required documentation can be provided upon request. One example of this might be an agreement with the contracting organization to provide only vaccinated staff, a list of staff and vaccination status, and an agreement to provide proof of vaccination in a timely manner upon request. (This is slightly different than we heard from KDADS on Tuesday. They encouraged providers to keep documents of exemptions and vaccination in their files as provided by contractors. We will pursue additional clarification from KDADS.)
  • Additional precautions for unvaccinated (including exempt) staff: Unvaccinated staff, including those who have requested and/or been approved for exemption, are required to follow additional precautions to mitigate transmission of COVID-19. CMS outlines several precautions in guidance, including reassignment of staff to telework if this will work considering their job responsibilities, non-patient care roles, or caring only for those who are not unvaccinated or immunocompromised; practicing physical distancing and using an N95 or other approved respirator for source control at all times; and submitting to at least weekly testing. While other interventions may also be appropriate, CMS advises that these are not pick-list options and providers should attempt to layer strategies as appropriate. One example may be requiring all unvaccinated staff to physical distance, wear N95s, and submit to weekly testing while reassigning staff along the lines of CDC staffing capacity (outlined here) where contingency capacity allows for reassignment to non-patient care while crisis capacity allows for care of residents who are not unvaccinated or immunocompromised.
  • At-home testing for staff: Despite developments from the Administration to expand access to at-home testing, CMS has confirmed that at-home testing is NOT appropriate for meeting requirements for routine testing of unvaccinated staff. Routine testing of unvaccinated staff should take place on site where healthcare personnel can observe testing, confirm the integrity of test results, and document results. An emergency contingency may include performing this observation over a virtual real-time video call; however, in-person, on-site testing is preferred.

LEADINGAGE KANSAS NEWS

Recording for Today’s Webinar
Here is the recording from today’s webinar. Here are the handouts.

Upcoming dates to keep in mind for guest speakers:

  1. January 28th – Jo Franco, LeadingAge VP of Grassroots Advocacy
  2. February 18th – Virtual Legislative Day with Legislators invited
  3. February 25th – Katie Sloan, CEO of LeadingAge National

As always, we will update you on all things COVID and provide a legislative update. Register for 2022 here if you haven’t already.

VALUE FIRST NEWS

Abbott Extends Use of BinaxNow Antigen Test
Abbott Labs has continued testing for product stability to extend the expiration date of their BinaxNow antigen testing cards. Testing has been completed and shared with the FDA. These results do support a shelf-life (expiration date) of up to 15 months. The test cards you have may now have a longer than labeled product expiration date.

Please review this document for your specific lot numbers. You may also want to ensure that the lot number on your test packaging is the same lot number on the outside of the box.

LEADINGAGE NATIONAL NEWS

Reporting on Nursing Home Infection Control Provider Relief Funds
Join us Wednesday, February 2nd at Noon CT for a webinar highlighting what LeadingAge nursing home members need to know to comply with the PRF reporting requirement. Hear from the team at the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Bureau, to learn more about NHIC allowable expenses, how to use the PRF Reporting Portal to report on NHIC payments, and what resources are available to assist you with reporting in Reporting Period 2. Register today

Invitation to January 25th, 1 PM Central – Nursing Home Advisory Group
Focus – available resources, policy updates, and member discussion. Join the call here.

RESOURCES

THANK YOU TO OUR BRONZE PARTNER

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Dana is so much more than her title, which is Chief Operating Officer of LeadingAge Kansas. Her passion for elders transcends her formalized role and is visible in all facets of the association. She provides leadership to education, membership, office and account management, oversees IT, serves on the management team, writes grants, and develops new programs. Dana also serves as Executive Director of the LeadingAge Kansas Foundation. Despite her humongous role in LeadingAge Kansas’s success, she maintains a humble perspective and is thrilled just to make members easier by helping them solve their problems. She has a passion for seniors and believes they’re the most interesting and underrated group of people in America. In her free time, you can find Dana chasing storms and blogging about food! Contact Dana at 785.233.7443, ext. 109.