IMPORTANT INFORMATION AS OF MARCH 14, 2020
President Trump has declared a national emergency as a result of COVID-19. This development triggers heightened infection control practices and protocols as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Please know that maintaining the health, wellness, and safety of our residents and staff is our number one priority.
Once the County Health Department lifts the current gastrointestinal quarantine at RJHC/HSCL, we will continue to restrict visitation as required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for COVID-19. Effective immediately, RSM is joining RJHC/HSCL in restricting visitation. Based on federal guidance, no visitors will be permitted into our community except for essential medical personnel and certain compassionate care situations, such as a family member’s end-of-life.
Per CMS recommendation HSCL and RSM will join RJHC, in implementing the following additional safeguards:
- All meals will be served in the privacy of resident rooms.
(Note: Working quickly with this new information, we began this during today’s lunch hour and while there were a few bumps, we now have what promises to be a smooth system in place).
- Communal/Group activities are suspended.
Please know that the news about the spread of this new disease is concerning for us all. In addition to restricting visitation to prevent the illness on our campus, we are also focused on infection control best practices with our staff and residents. Staff have been trained on the symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19), CDC recommended infection prevention techniques, and have clear protocols for staff to stay home and not come to work if they are ill or symptomatic.
Additional Impacts from the National Emergency Declaration
The President announced during his press conference declaring a national emergency, that he was suspending the Medicare’s three-day stay requirement before a SNF admission. We have not yet seen anything in writing about this from CMS and will forward to you when we receive any more information.
- CMS Releases MAC-by-MAC Medicare Part B COVID-19 Test Billing Rates
- MDS Completion and Submission Waivers
CMS is waiving 42 CFR 483.20 to provide relief to SNFs on the timeframe requirements for Minimum Data Set (MDS) assessments and transmissions. CMS has not yet issued technical guidance on how to implement.
- SNF Part A 100-Day Benefit Waiver
For “certain beneficiaries who recently exhausted their SNF benefits, the waiver authorizes renewed SNF coverage without first having to start a new benefit period.” CMS has not yet issued technical guidance on how to implement.
Separately, the House of Representatives passed a relief package late yesterday. It still must be passed in the Senate, but it includes a temporary 6.2% FMAP increase to state Medicaid programs, paid sick leave for employers with 500 employees or less, tax credits, and funding for certain tests. We will continue to monitor this legislation and keep you posted about possible implementation.
We continue to monitor information and guidance from CMS, CDC, and the Oregon Health Authority, and are working with state and local public health and emergency preparedness officials to prevent the illness and strengthen our preparation for and response to outbreak.
For additional information, please visit the CDC’s coronavirus disease information page at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ or the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) at https://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Agency-Information/Emergency/EPRO/Current-Emergencies/Current-Emergencies-page.
We will keep you updated.
With love, honor, and respect,
Chief Executive Officer