Category: General News

Urgent Advocacy Needed on Wage Mandate in State Budget

HCA asks all members to call their State Senators. Request them to immediately contact Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to reconsider the Senate’s home care wage proposal, substituting it with HCA’s alternative plan in the budget.

The Senate’s wage mandate proposal has gained new momentum since the weekend, and HCA understands that it is being directly discussed at the legislative leaders level in budget negotiations.

Continue reading “Urgent Advocacy Needed on Wage Mandate in State Budget”

McKnight’s: NY Home Care Providers Say Not So Fast on Underfunded Compensation Mandate

“While we appreciate the intent of new proposed state budget legislation to increase aide wages, the proposal now under consideration in New York’s state budget would not sufficiently cover the full cost of this new mandate for home care provider employers in New York State, many of whom are operating at negative margins,” HCA recently told McKnight’s Long Term Care News regarding legislation proposed in the state budget.

Vaccine Information Sessions for Home Care Workers 

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will be offering online COVID-19 vaccine information sessions for home care workers. It will include a question and answer period to address questions or concerns home care staff might have.

Webinars will be offered in multiple languages:

The webinars will be recorded for people unable to make the above times.

Please e-mail ecabato@health.nyc.gov if you have questions about the webinars.

As NY Budget Proposes 50% Workforce Funding Cut, New HCA Report Shows Devastating Impact of Pandemic on Home Care Finances and Access  

HCA calls for restoration of workforce and service funds, as well as a ‘Home Care First’ policy to meet rising demand for home care in pandemic

ALBANY — At a time when home care providers face a 50% workforce recruitment-and-retention funding cut and other reductions in New York’s budget, HCA has issued a new report showing the devastating impact of COVID-19 on home care operations and workforce amid a rising demand for services and escalating new costs for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other needs. Continue reading “As NY Budget Proposes 50% Workforce Funding Cut, New HCA Report Shows Devastating Impact of Pandemic on Home Care Finances and Access  “

On-Demand Until Feb. 21: Premier Home Health Leadership Program

If you missed the 2021 Northeast Home Health Leadership Summit (NELS) in January, fourteen excellent session recordings await for you to enjoy conveniently at any time, on demand.

All content is available through February 21. See our full NELS on-demand session agenda here.

This is a great opportunity to hear from national emergency preparedness, legal and policy experts, plus peer home care executives offering strategies for pandemic response. NELS 2021 thought leaders also offer insights to help you problem solve, build a stronger workforce, and work more efficiently.

LEARN MORE AND REGISTER HERE TODAY

Yankee Stadium Mass Vaccination Site, Plus Town Hall & Provider Webinar on Feb. 5

New York City providers or organizations with staff residing in New York City, please see the following updates and share with your staff accordingly.

Yankee Stadium Mass-Vaccination Site

The Governor and New York City Mayor have announced that a mass-vaccination site at Yankee Stadium will begin administering COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible Bronx residents on Friday, February 5.

Continue reading “Yankee Stadium Mass Vaccination Site, Plus Town Hall & Provider Webinar on Feb. 5”

Join Us for 2/2 Webinar on PPP, Employee Retention Credits & Provider Relief Funds

Webinar on February 2, from 1-2 p.m.

The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 Act signed into law on December 27, 2020 provided another round of COVID-19 stimulus funding and further relief for taxpayers affected by the pandemic.

In this webinar, Koy Dever, Principal at BKD, will review the latest available information regarding eligibility requirements for new funding opportunities under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and expanded Employee Retention Tax Credits opportunities.

In addition, we will cover regulatory updates regarding PPP loan forgiveness applications and Provider Relief Funding reporting guidance.

Register Here Today

Vaccine Update: Governor Opens Eligibility to Phase 1b as HCA Continues to Provide Critical Resources for Home Care and Hospice

Throughout the past week — a time when home care and hospice workers were included among phase 1a priority workers — HCA compiled and circulated to members a series of spreadsheets with links for accessing the COVID-19 vaccine in addition to the state and city vaccine appointment pages.

While health care workers remain a priority (including, specifically, home care and hospice), the Governor on Friday announced the expansion of vaccine priority to phase 1b, which includes certain other essential workers and individuals age 75 and older. Continue reading “Vaccine Update: Governor Opens Eligibility to Phase 1b as HCA Continues to Provide Critical Resources for Home Care and Hospice”

HHCN: NY Moves Up COVID-19 Vaccination Eligibility for Home Care, Hospice Workers

“Home care and hospice workers are now part of the pool of New Yorkers eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” reports Home Health Care News on January 10, 2021. “This development didn’t just happen overnight. In fact, it was the result of a significant push from New York home-based care associations, Roger Noyes, director of communications at the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA-NYS), told Home Health Care News.”

Vaccination Update: New County Health Dept. Info and Messaging to Encourage Your Staff

Yesterday, HCA shared information about vaccination sites and appointment scheduling. Several county health departments have also begun posting vaccination information. All of this is compiled in a new series of spreadsheets on our COVID-19 resource page to further assist in your effort to facilitate staff vaccinations. Please also be sure to review the state and city vaccine eligibility sites.

While not all county agencies are actively vaccinating at this time, many are doing so, and this information is constantly changing.

Continue reading “Vaccination Update: New County Health Dept. Info and Messaging to Encourage Your Staff”

Home Care, Hospice Workers Now in Week 4 Vaccination Following HCA Appeals

Vaccine scheduling information now posted to our COVID-19 page. Please bookmark this site and check it regularly for updates.

Following HCA’s daily and continuous outreach to officials at all levels of the statewide vaccination effort, the state Department of Health (DOH) last night revised its guidance to move up the schedule for home care and hospice worker vaccination.

According to the new guidance, home care and hospice workers are now included in the week 4 vaccine prioritization schedule this week (beginning January 4).

Continue reading “Home Care, Hospice Workers Now in Week 4 Vaccination Following HCA Appeals”

HCA Continues Pressing Home Care, Hospice Vaccine Prioritization with Commissioner, Regional Task Force Coalitions 

HCA continues to seek clarity and advocate for prioritization of home care and hospice in the statewide vaccination roll out.

Complicating the consistency of information is the fact that statewide logistics appear to have been substantially delegated to ten regional planning hubs, also known as Regional Advisory Task Force (RATF) coalitions, led mostly by hospitals. A list of all ten hubs is provided on the Governor’s website here. Continue reading “HCA Continues Pressing Home Care, Hospice Vaccine Prioritization with Commissioner, Regional Task Force Coalitions “

NYC Home Care, Hospice Workers Included in Phase I as HCA Discusses Vaccine Logistics with City Officials

HCA today spoke with New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) immunization officials about logistics for COVID-19 vaccination of home care and hospice workers.

Notably, in response to our ongoing emphasis about home care’s vital patient care role, the city is including home care workers in phase I of its plan, along with other phase I workers (in hospitals and nursing homes) in New York City, consistent with advisory recommendations made at the federal level.

Continue reading “NYC Home Care, Hospice Workers Included in Phase I as HCA Discusses Vaccine Logistics with City Officials”

DOH Confirms COVID-19 Vaccination Enrollment Program Open to Home Care

HCA has received confirmation from the state Department of Health (DOH) that home care providers who intend to receive and administer COVID-19 vaccine should prepare now by enrolling in the state’s vaccine program for providers outside of New York City. A separate process is in place for New York City providers.

Continue reading “DOH Confirms COVID-19 Vaccination Enrollment Program Open to Home Care”

NYC Removes Requirement That Home Care Providers Have Less Than 1 Week of PPE Before Ordering from City Stockpile

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) has removed the requirement that agencies serving NYC must have less than one week of personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to request PPE from the city’s PPE Service Center. Continue reading “NYC Removes Requirement That Home Care Providers Have Less Than 1 Week of PPE Before Ordering from City Stockpile”

NYSACHO to County Health Commissioners: Include Home Care in Your Partnerships on COVID-19 Testing, Equipped by HCA Training 

The Governor and state Health Commissioner have requested all county health departments to establish plans for COVID-19 testing and immunization capabilities.

Yesterday, this request was given a major signal for county health officials to work with home care agencies on these efforts, equipped by HCA’s training program.

Sarah Ravenhall, Executive Director of the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO), joined HCA President Al Cardillo in a letter to all county health commissioners whose departments oversee the local public health response to COVID-19. Together they urge commissioners to look to home care agencies as a critical partner and resource that can assist with county-level COVID-19 testing capacity through in-home specimen collection.   Continue reading “NYSACHO to County Health Commissioners: Include Home Care in Your Partnerships on COVID-19 Testing, Equipped by HCA Training “

12 New Webinars: Best Home Care Practices in the COVID-19 Emergency and Beyond

HCA Education and Research (E&R) is pleased to present Best Clinical and Operational Practices in COVID and Beyond, a grant-funded online learning series curated by HCA E&R under a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

These 24/7, on-demand webinars are free of charge. They provide model insights and innovations pioneered by home and community-based providers. Our faculty include home and community care clinicians, operational leaders, and executives covering a range of clinical and operational topics.

Continue reading “12 New Webinars: Best Home Care Practices in the COVID-19 Emergency and Beyond”

COVID-19 Briefs for November 9, 2020: Out of State Travel & Vaccine Updates

New York has submitted its COVID-19 Vaccination Program to the federal government.

It describes steps and protocols to ensure the safe and efficient distribution and administration of vaccine to New York residents. The document includes: guidelines and vaccine planning considerations; measures to ensure vaccine safety; a vaccine prioritization matrix; a distribution and delivery process; training and support of providers administering the vaccine; data and IT infrastructure to coordinate and monitor the program; public education and community outreach; and a budget and procurement process. A Vaccine Central Command Center is proposed to manage the entire vaccine program.

Continue reading “COVID-19 Briefs for November 9, 2020: Out of State Travel & Vaccine Updates”

1 Minute Advocacy: Urge Congress to Pass Bill Allowing Medicare Home Telehealth Payment

Both houses of Congress have introduced legislation that would provide Medicare reimbursement to home health agencies that deliver audio and video telehealth services during COVID-19. This is a major priority.

Today, we ask that you use our online Legislative Action Center to write New York’s Senators and your Member of Congress to pass this critical billIt takes less than a minute to do.

As we note in our Action Center campaign, “this technology is vital in the pandemic. It extends home care’s reach to patients who are socially isolated, anxious, and in need of more complex services, especially the growing number of patients discharged from hospitals to home care with severe post-COVID-19 care needs.”

We also cite recent HCA data collected in a survey of providers showing that the number of home health providers having to turn to telehealth in the pandemic has doubled, from 22 percent of providers before the pandemic to 46 percent today, yet there’s no Medicare reimbursement to support this service.

Thank you to all of the providers who answered this survey, which supports key advocacy messaging.

Please act on this advocacy messaging today, and urge your staff to do the same.

HCA Webinar: Join Labor Law Expert Emina Poricanin on New Paid Sick Leave Guidance, FAQs 

Please join HCA and home care labor law expert Emina Poricanin for a webinar on Monday, October 26 (at 1 p.m.) where she’ll provide an update on the state’s Paid Sick Leave law.

The state law requires employers with five or more employees to provide their employees with paid sick and safe leave. Businesses with fewer than five employees and a net income of $1 million or less must provide unpaid sick and safe leave to employees.

Poricanin will explain the law’s implications for home care providers so that your organization can develop leave policies and practices for 2021, ensuring compliance. She’ll specifically cover highlights of new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) posted earlier this week by the state Department of Labor.

Join Us on Oct. 16: Onboarding Your Patients or Clients to the Statewide Virtual Senior Center (VSC)

Register today for an October 16 Zoom presentation to learn how your home care, hospice or MLTC organization can onboard patients/clients so they can connect to the Statewide Virtual Senior Center (VSC).

The session, from 11 a.m. to noon, will be hosted by HCA Education and Research (HCA E&R) and Selfhelp Community Services, building on an introductory webinar that we held in July.

To register for the October 16 Zoom session, just complete the online form here and HCA E&R will e-mail you a Zoom link on the morning of the program so that you can connect to the discussion.

Continue reading “Join Us on Oct. 16: Onboarding Your Patients or Clients to the Statewide Virtual Senior Center (VSC)”

Sepsis Month: Senate Resolution, NYSOFA PR, Plus HCR, VNSNY & Americare Features

The state Senate has passed a resolution recognizing September 2020 as Sepsis Awareness Month in the State of New York.

HCA, our Stop Sepsis at Home NY screening initiative, and allied partners recognize and greatly appreciate this action initiated by the Senate’s Health Committee Chairman Senator Gustavo Rivera.

Full text of the resolution is posted to our Stop Sepsis at Home NY website here.

Our partners at Sepsis Alliance are working to achieve similar resolutions in all 50 states, and HCA is proud to be part of efforts to put New York State in that number as we work alongside other leading advocacy and awareness organizations like End Sepsis: The Legacy of Rory Staunton. Continue reading “Sepsis Month: Senate Resolution, NYSOFA PR, Plus HCR, VNSNY & Americare Features”

NYC PPE Stockpile Information Released

New York City (NYC) has been working to compile an emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) for home care and other health care providers that service NYC in the event that there is a COVID-19 resurgence. 

To streamline the product request process, NYC is partnering with Medline to support the requesting and delivery process. Once in effect, this will replace the system that HCA and the New York State Association of Health Care Providers (HCP) worked out with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) whereby some of our members devoted much time and resources to serve as distribution sites for PPE furnished by the City for home care providers in all boroughs. Continue reading “NYC PPE Stockpile Information Released”

Free Series: 7 Hospital-Home Care Collaboration Models for Improved Patient Care

In a September 3 presentation, we introduced hospitals and home care providers to the HCA-HANYS-IHA “Statewide Hospital-Home Care Collaborative for COVID-19 and Beyond.”

As part of this program, we are offering seven upcoming webinars free of charge for all hospital and home care organizations in New York State. Continue reading “Free Series: 7 Hospital-Home Care Collaboration Models for Improved Patient Care”

Register: HCA’s Senior Finance Managers Retreat on Sept. 15-16

Online registration is now open for HCA’s Senior Financial Managers Retreat, our signature finance program for CHHAs, LHCSAs, hospice and MLTC.

While the retreat (on September 15 & 16) was originally planned for the Mohonk Mountain Resort in New Paltz, New York, we have transitioned to a virtual live event this year that will be broadcast through Crowdcast to any location using your computer, tablet or smart phone.

Continue reading “Register: HCA’s Senior Finance Managers Retreat on Sept. 15-16”

Senator Gillibrand, Colleagues Press HHS for Home Care Supports

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today issued a press release and letter to federal health officials seeking vital supports for home and community-based providers in the pandemic. Among them: priority access to personal protective equipment (PPE); telehealth reimbursement for home health agencies; and funding support for Medicaid home and community-based providers and workers.

HCA and HCA member the Visiting Nurse Service of New York have been working closely with Senator Gillibrand’s office on this appeal.

Continue reading “Senator Gillibrand, Colleagues Press HHS for Home Care Supports”

Join Sept. 3 Webinar Unveiling HCA-HANYS-IHA Care Collaboration Initiative for Home Care and Hospitals

Hospital and home care leaders are invited to join HCA, the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) and the Iroquois Healthcare Association (IHA) for a September 3 webinar launching our “Statewide Hospital-Home Care Collaborative for COVID-19 and Beyond.”

Registration for the launch webinar, at 4 p.m., is here.

This HCA-HANYS-IHA collaborative is being supported by a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. It is designed to promote pre- and post-hospital collaboration among hospitals and home care providers to address patients’ needs not only in the COVID-19 pandemic but also on a lasting basis.

Continue reading “Join Sept. 3 Webinar Unveiling HCA-HANYS-IHA Care Collaboration Initiative for Home Care and Hospitals”

President Trump Signs Executive Orders to Extend Federal Relief and Other COVID-19 Updates

On Saturday evening, President Donald J. Trump signed four executive actions that would: extend unemployment benefits; prevent residential evictions and foreclosures; assist with student loans; and suspend the collection of payroll taxes.

Federal lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have questioned the constitutionality of these actions amid a stalemate on negotiations over the next coronavirus aid package. Continue reading “President Trump Signs Executive Orders to Extend Federal Relief and Other COVID-19 Updates”

HCA to Testify Today at Legislative Hearing on COVID-19 and Long Term Care

HCA will be testifying today in the second of two state legislative hearings examining the impact of COVID-19 on nursing homes and other long term care settings. The hearing begins at 10 a.m.

At the first hearing — for New York City, Westchester and Long Island last week — lawmakers raised numerous questions focused on nursing home fatality rates, how the data were represented, nursing home visitation policies, and more. Continue reading “HCA to Testify Today at Legislative Hearing on COVID-19 and Long Term Care”

Register Now for HCA’s Virtual Annual Conference: August 25 & 26

Two days, ten sessions and a much-needed time for learning, reflection, collaboration and morale!  

Registration is now open for HCA’s Annual Conference on August 25 and 26, our flagship yearly event, now virtual!

A global health pandemic. Long-pressing industry needs. Some of the most consequential program changes in recent history. We need this gathering more than ever before: a moment for learning, reflection, collaboration and morale.

Participants have ten sessions to choose from, spaced across two days and streamed through our new online learning management systemRead our agenda at-a-glance to learn more.

To register through our learning management system, you’ll need to create a profile first and then follow the instructions. We will provide you with all the details for accessing our conference stream on August 25 and 26, including the opportunity to watch content on-demand as well.

Every crisis is an opportunity. While we would love to see you in person, this virtual format offers convenience, flexibility and lower registration fees, including a new group discount rate for an UNLIMITED number of staff to attend from your organization.

Got questions? Contact HCA’s Director of Education Celisia Street.

A Virtual Senior Center for Your Home Care Patients: Learn More at July 24 Webinar

Interactive online platform helps overcome social isolation in older adults during COVID-19 health emergency 

Join HCA Education and Research (E&R), Selfhelp Community Services and public officials on July 24 at 10:30 a.m. to see first-hand a powerful, interactive Virtual Senior Center (VSC) platform open for all home and community-based clients to enroll. Register for the webinar here.

Continue reading “A Virtual Senior Center for Your Home Care Patients: Learn More at July 24 Webinar”

COVID-19 Briefs for July 13, 2020

State DOH Issues Return to Work Guidance 

As announced in a member alert last week, the state Department of Health (DOH) released guidance on revised protocols for home care and other health care personnel to return to work following COVID-19 exposure or infection.  

The guidance outlines the conditions under which entities may allow staff to return to work after: 1) being confirmed or suspected of COVID-19 exposure or infection; or 2) after traveling to a state with a significant degree of community spread (see DOH’s travel guidance and update below), among other situations.  Continue reading “COVID-19 Briefs for July 13, 2020”

New 7/10 Webinar: Applying for Medicaid CARES Act Financial Relief

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced $15 billion in CARES Act relief funds for Medicaid providers who lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS has clarified that home care agencies are eligible, under fee-for-service and managed care. This includes Licensed Home Care Services Agencies and Certified Home Health Agencies who meet all of the conditions.

On July 10, in two days, Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement expert Koy Dever of BKD, LLP will lead a webinar offering the latest information on eligibility criteria, navigating the application process, terms and conditions, reporting and audit requirements, as well as frequently asked questions.

Continue reading “New 7/10 Webinar: Applying for Medicaid CARES Act Financial Relief”

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending June 7, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending June 7, 2020.

This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.

To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, please see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending June 7, 2020”

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 31, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending May 31.

This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.

To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, please see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 31, 2020”

Act Now on Urgent Call for Federal COVID-19 Funds to Home Care in Congress

Please act today here on a new HCA Legislative Action Center campaign urging direct federal funds for New York home care providers at the front line of the COVID-19 epicenter.

As previously reported, HCA has estimated home care’s COVID-19 financial impact to be at least $200 million in New York State, a conservative estimate. We are calling on Congress to appropriate this baseline, threshold amount needed in the next aid package to stabilize New York home care providers who have, to date, received little aid relative to other settings. Much of this aid has come in the form of advance payments, loans and other financial mechanisms primarily through Medicare-funded programs but with little comprehensive support for providers of all home and community-based programs, including Medicaid services. Continue reading “Act Now on Urgent Call for Federal COVID-19 Funds to Home Care in Congress”

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 25, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending May 25.

This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.

To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, please see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 25, 2020”

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 17, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending May 17.

This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.

To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, please see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 17, 2020”

AP: “‘You Are a Miracle’: Home Care Is New Front in Virus Fight”

“‘You Are a Miracle’: Home Care Is New Front in Virus Fight,” proclaims the headline in an AP article recently published in the New York Times, noting that “home health care is becoming a new front in the national fight against COVID-19 as some patients come back from hospitals and others strive to stay out of them.”

As COVID-19 patients become medically stable, hospitals look to home care for continued care and monitoring to keep patients safe and prevent a recurrent hospitalization, including services provided by HCA members featured in the article: Americare and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending April 26, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending April 26.

This is a weekly digest of new updates as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.

To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending April 26, 2020”

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending April 19, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending April 19. This is a weekly digest including updates already provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week. To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here).

Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending April 19, 2020”

NY Has Allowed Medicaid Home Telehealth Flexibility to Keep Patients & Staff Safe in COVID-19; Washington Should Follow Suit for Medicare

A statement from HCA President Al Cardillo

“I greatly commend the New York State Department of Health for employing a broadly flexible and visionary use of telehealth through home health providers to promote patient care as well as worker and patient safety in the COVID-19 emergency.” Continue reading “NY Has Allowed Medicaid Home Telehealth Flexibility to Keep Patients & Staff Safe in COVID-19; Washington Should Follow Suit for Medicare”

HCA and Managed Care Organizations Write to Governor’s Office on PPE Plan

HCA has joined forces with four partner groups representing long term care and managed care organizations on a letter (see here) to the Cuomo Administration calling for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) distribution and prioritization protocols inclusive of home care. We also sought approval of recommended measures to safely provide care where PPE or staffing are insufficient, such as the enlistment of alternate care providers, voluntary plan-of-care changes, and other flexibilities.

New Executive Order Requires Face Coverings

A new Executive Order going into effect today at 8 p.m. (see here) requires that all employees of “Essential Businesses” in New York State “shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public.”

Home care, as with other health care settings, has been defined as an “essential business” since early in the state’s emergency declaration; providers are, therefore, subject to the new requirement in the Governor’s Executive Order.

The state Department of Health (DOH) has issued a guidance for health care settings, defining “face covering” as including, but not limited to, “cloth (e.g. homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), surgical masks, N-95 respirators, and face shields.” Continue reading “New Executive Order Requires Face Coverings”

Providers Begin Receiving $30B in Emergency Funding from HHS, Plus Newly Suspended State Regs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has begun releasing emergency funds to health care providers today as part of the recently signed federal CARES Act.

Home care and hospice providers are included in the list of providers to receive funds. As of this morning, HCA members have already reported receiving electronic payments.

Continue reading “Providers Begin Receiving $30B in Emergency Funding from HHS, Plus Newly Suspended State Regs”

Oneonta Daily Star: Virus fears impact retention efforts by home care providers

“Fear of COVID-19 exposure is having an impact on the ability of home care agencies to find workers willing to go into patients homes, according to a statewide survey,” reports the Oneonta Daily Star on April 9. “The Home Care Association, a statewide umbrella group, said the survey also found many local provider agencies reported they have patients who are now rejecting care due to concerns about the virus.”

“These findings strongly support the need for priority access to supplies, like personal protective equipment, amid dangerous shortages and the absence of community-based providers from the prioritization lists when supplies are made available,” said Al Cardillo, the association’s president.

April (Phase II) Report: Home Care Provider Survey Examines Workforce, Supply, Financial Impacts of COVID-19 in NYS

The Home Care Association of New York State (HCA) has again surveyed home and community-based providers in New York State — at the COVID-19 epicenter — to learn more about specific impacts of the health emergency on home and community-based services delivered to nearly 900,000 New Yorkers. Our latest report is called Phase II COVID-19 Survey: Summary of Impact on Home and Community-Based Entities, Staff and Patients in New York State.

Our latest survey, finalized on April 6, further examines: the number of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases among home care staff and patients; what agencies are doing to cope with equipment shortages; percentage changes in patient counts due to COVID-19; the numbers (in ranges) of patients refusing care for fear of exposure; what agencies are doing in cases where patients are refusing care; projected financial impacts for the foreseeable future; and more.

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending April 5, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending April 5. 

HCA Continues to Press on PPE Needs, Prioritization

Severe shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) continue to pose dangerous health and safety risks across all health care settings. A yet further constraint is the fact that the New York City Department of Health’s directives on supply prioritization have thus far categorically omitted home care and hospice.

HCA has raised these alarms repeatedly, in direct outreach to all levels of government and in the press.

Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending April 5, 2020”

New Medicaid Telehealth Q&As, Plus Updated Guidance on Personnel and COVID-19 Exposure

The state Department of Health has issued two new COVID-19 guidance documents.

One of these (dated March 31) replaces a prior guidance on protocols for personnel returning to work following COVID-19 exposure and infection (see here). It explains the conditions under which entities may allow health care personnel to return to work in the event they have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 or have traveled internationally.

The other is a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on new Medicaid service and billing allowances through telehealth and telephonic means during the COVID-19 emergency (see here).

Continue reading “New Medicaid Telehealth Q&As, Plus Updated Guidance on Personnel and COVID-19 Exposure”

New CMS Waivers: Incremental Telehealth Flexibility, Plus Latitude on Homebound Requirement

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued some new regulatory waivers and flexibilities, including a very incremental allowance for home telehealth and important latitude on the “homebound” requirement. This information is here.

Congress, in the recently enacted CARES Act for coronavirus relief, called upon federal officials to “encourage” telehealth. CMS has responded in a limited fashion, based on our read of the latest CMS communication, determining that the law does not permit CMS to pay home health agencies for telehealth. (The state Medicaid program, meanwhile, has already provided much more flexibility in this regard for Medicaid services, as previously reported to the membership.)

The CMS change, circulated last night, ostensibly allows expanded telehealth as a means to reduce costs, but not as a service billable under Medicare. HCA is further analyzing the language, speaking with federal officials and partners, and preparing to redouble our efforts on more expansive telehealth permissions for service and billing.

Continue reading “New CMS Waivers: Incremental Telehealth Flexibility, Plus Latitude on Homebound Requirement”

Weekly COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending March 29, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending March 29. 

CARES Act, NPP Authorization, and HCA’s Call for Permissive Implementation of Telehealth Provisions 

Congress passed, and the President signed, a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package. It includes a long-time priority of HCA and national organizations: allowing non-physician practitioners to order and refer for home care services. (HCA awaits further implementation information from federal administrators.)  Continue reading “Weekly COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending March 29, 2020”

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending March 29

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending March 29.

CARES Act, NPP Authorization, and HCA’s Call for Permissive Implementation of Telehealth Provisions 

Congress passed, and the President signed, a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package. It includes a long-time priority of HCA and national organizations: allowing non-physician practitioners to order and refer for home care services. (HCA awaits further implementation information from federal administrators.) Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending March 29”

COVID-19 Impact on Home Care by the Numbers

HCA last week shared with state health officials the findings of a home care provider survey on COVID-19. It uncovered that the vast majority of home and community-based providers (68%) do not have access to adequate personal protective equipment in their COVID-19 response.

Almost half (48%) report instances where patients and/or family members refuse entry of staff in the home due to concerns about the virus at a time when home health agencies are working vigorously to screen caregivers and patients alike for the safety of both.

Continue reading “COVID-19 Impact on Home Care by the Numbers”

New COVID-19 Telehealth Guidance More Explicitly References Home Care 

The state Department of Health (DOH) has updated its previous Medicaid Update on COVID-19 telehealth/telephonic billing and services allowances to more explicitly include home care and each discipline within home care following multiple appeals from HCA.

The new Medicaid Update, dated March 23, is here and may undergo future updates that providers should watch for. Continue reading “New COVID-19 Telehealth Guidance More Explicitly References Home Care “

State Medicaid Guidance Authorizes Telehealth, Telephonic Services and Billing for COVID-19 Emergency

A special edition of the state’s Medicaid Update issued last night (see here) includes a guidance broadly expanding the use of telehealth, telephonic services and other communications methods by Medicaid providers during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Effective for dates of service after March 1, and for the duration of the state of emergency, “New York State Medicaid will reimburse telephonic assessment, monitoring, and evaluation and management services provided to members in cases where face-to-face visits may not be recommended and it is appropriate for the member to be evaluated and managed by telephone.” HCA has confirmed with DOH officials that the guidance applies to Article 36 home care providers.

Continue reading “State Medicaid Guidance Authorizes Telehealth, Telephonic Services and Billing for COVID-19 Emergency”

March (Phase I) Report: Home Care Needs Priority Supplies, Regulatory Flexibility & Emergency Aid for COVID-19 Response

In a just-completed HCA survey on the COVID-19 crisis, nearly 300 home care providers in every region of New York State report that they collectively serve more than 14,100 priority level 1 patients in the community. These are patients who, without home care, would face a rapid, immediately life-threatening deterioration in their existing health condition or would need to be transferred to another setting, such as hospitals or nursing homes already stretched to capacity. Many of these most at-risk patients are homebound, or dependent on technology or ventilators, with severe life-limiting conditions. Continue reading “March (Phase I) Report: Home Care Needs Priority Supplies, Regulatory Flexibility & Emergency Aid for COVID-19 Response”

COVID-19: Respond Now on Survey for Urgent DOH Assistance Request

Discussions have escalated in the last 24 hours on long-sought state COVID-19 guidance and assistance for home care and hospice. Throughout the weekend, HCA has again discussed with state officials a list of pressing requests for regulatory relief waivers, priority access to supplies, procedural guidance, and financial support to help providers amid the pandemic.

A just-released Dear Administrator Letter for Certified Home Health Agencies and Licensed Home Care Services Agencies (see here) provides some information on screening of patients and staff, as well as on the responsibilities of personnel in observing patients at home. It followed another guidance, sent earlier today (see here), with regulatory guidance for 1915(c) waiver programs (addressed to providers serving children and youth under the Children’s Waiver). Continue reading “COVID-19: Respond Now on Survey for Urgent DOH Assistance Request”