MDHHS Updates Nursing Facility Testing Guidance and Materials
On Friday July 10, 2020 the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) released updated information, documents and FAQs related to nursing facility required data reporting and COVID testing. MDHHS has shared the updates include FAQs for both Reporting and Testing that covers questions and concerns arising since issuing the most recent version. New additions are highlighted for easy identification.
In addition, as the testing requirements have evolved, MDHHS recognized the need for both additional information on the Testing Reimbursement Form, and space on the Testing Plan Template for providers to document barriers to completing testing as they occur. Providers should note they are not required to complete a new Testing Plan, however may choose to use the new template as a means of documenting any instances or barriers to completing testing as required. This documentation will serve as the facilities notification to MDHHS.
To request support for testing from MDHHS, providers should complete the Testing Support Request Template and submit to MDHHS-LTCRequests@michigan.gov.
Opportunity to Engage with Federal Nursing Home Commission
The Commission on Safety & Quality in Nursing Homes has a new public engagement option which is open to receive feedback until July 17, 2020, 5 pm ET. This is a key opportunity to share thoughts directly with the commission.
The stated goals of the commission are to identify best practices for COVID-19 response and mitigation; best practices for infection control practices that can be a framework for enhanced oversight and quality monitoring; best practices for improved care delivery and responsiveness before, during and after an emergency; and to leverage new data sources to improve infection control policies and coordination between local, state and federal entities to mitigate COVID-19 and future emergencies.
The public engagement portal allows members of the public to submit feedback on the objectives of the commission as well as to submit publications or other resources you would like the commission to consider in their work.
We encourage you to take advantage of this important opportunity to share your voice and input with the commission. AHCA members have identified top priorities and solutions for each of the objectives of the commission as well as key support nursing facilities need to receive from CMS. Feel free to use these resources to help inform the feedback you provide to the commission, as well as build from any one or more of the priorities, solutions, and asks in these documents. Please tailor your responses to your own experiences as the individualized messaging of your story is most important and meaningful to drive change.
Governor Whitmer Issues Orders Requiring Mask Use
Governor Gretchen Whitmer toughened the mask-wearing requirement for residents through the release of Executive Order 2020-147 that requires businesses to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering.
The order expands the mask requirement to include individuals wear a mask outdoors when they are "unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household." Most significantly, the order requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering, with limited exceptions.
Under the order, businesses that are open to the public must refuse entry and service to individuals who fail to comply, and must post signs at all entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside. Those who are exempt from wearing a mask in Michigan businesses include people younger than five years old, those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering, and those who are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment. The order takes effect at 12:01am on Monday, July 13.
Governor Whitmer Requests Support From National Guard Through the End of 2020
Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting the president authorize the use of Michigan National Guard forces through December 31, 2020. Title 32 authority, which allows Guard members to receive federal pay and benefits, was set to expire on August 21 due to a deadline set by the Trump Administration.
"The Michigan National Guard is a crucial part of the State's emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Guard will be vital to our ongoing recovery as well," said Governor Whitmer.
The Michigan National Guard has been assisting with COVID testing in long term care facilities, as well as manning pop-up testing locations, and distributing food and medical supplies, among other duties.
For questions or concerns please contact Cathy Sunlin at CathySunlin@HCAM.org.
July 11, 2020