CMS Increases COVID Testing Efforts
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that nursing facilities in areas with high COVID-19 positivity rates will be receiving another point-of-care testing option starting next week.
During a call with CMS Administrator Seema Verma Tuesday evening, it was announced that CMS will soon be distributing 750,000 "or potentially more" Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests to nursing facilities in "red" or "yellow" counties. Earlier, CMS had announced it purchased 150 million of those tests to be distributed around the country.
The tests can be administered using a nasal swab which are "very sensitive for people who are in the first seven days of their illness," explained Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir. He added the federal government will formally roll out the program later this week and state governors will also be receiving tests for distribution. Providers do need to have a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) waiver to receive the tests.
At this time, it is not known if the Abbott BinaxNOW tests will be distributed to any facilities in Michigan.
COVID Antigen Testing Training & Supply Resources
Quidel and BD have both shared available training materials to nursing home staff on use of their respective antigen testing units. Training documentation will be made widely available for all nursing homes that are receiving supplies.
Quidel training information can be found at https://togetheragain.quidel.com/.
BD is offering training services through their Learning Management System (LMS) platform to all BD Veritor System customers at no additional cost. The eLearning training platform is available online. Additional training videos can be found at https://www.bdveritor.com/. Nursing homes must complete all available training per the manufacturer's instructions.
Following the initial shipment of instruments and tests, nursing homes will be responsible for procuring their own tests directly from the manufacturer or medical device distributor. For Quidel purchases, nursing homes can visit https://togetheragain.quidel.com/ on their "Order More Tests" tab. For BD purchases, nursing homes can visit https://www.bdveritor.com/long-term-care-facilities/system-overview/ on their "Order Tests" tab.
The staff at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Division of Nursing Homes, Quality, Safety & Oversight Group are available to assist with questions or support. They can be reached via email at DNH_TriageTeam@cms.hhs.gov.
Michigan Unemployment Benefits Increase by $300 Per Week
Michigan unemployment insurance claimants will begin to temporarily receive an additional $300 per week after Governor Whitmer signed SB 745 on Tuesday, September8.
At the end of August, FEMA approved the expansion of the unemployment benefit by $300 per week for Michigan claimants. SB 745, which was passed by the legislature on last week, appropriated the funding for the unemployment enhancement. This enhancement will take effect retroactive to August 1, and will continue until the FEMA funds are fully spent.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer made the request in mid-August to FEMA to provide funding to give those eligible for unemployment in the state of Michigan an additional $300 per week. The Whitmer administration sought this supplemental funding in response to Congress allowing the $600 enhancement included in a previous stimulus bill to expire at the end of July.
AHCAs "CMS's COVID-19 Performance Payment Program" Recorded Webinar Now Accessible
The archived recording of CMS's COVID-19 Performance Payment Program is now ready for you to view at your convenience.
1. Click HERE and log in using your AHCA/NCAL username and password.
2. Once the page opens, click on the "View Archived Recording" button on the right hand side of the page. The presentation will open in a new window for you to view and hear the program.
3. Click on the Handout tab to download your copy of the handouts and other available materials.
MDHHS PPE Grant FAQs Released
The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) recently released an FAQ document regarding the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Grant program. The FAQs address a number of areas, including which purchases are eligible for inclusion and reimbursement information.
SNF QRP COVID-19 PR Tip Sheet is Available
The Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) COVID-19 Public Reporting (PR) Tip Sheet is now available. The purpose of this Tip Sheet is to help providers understand the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) public reporting strategy for the Post Acute Care (PAC) Quality Reporting Program (QRP) in the midst of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). This Tip Sheet explains the CMS strategy to account for CMS quality data which were exempted from public reporting due to COVID-19, and the impact on CMS' Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Compare website refreshes. Please navigate to the SNF QRP Training webpage to download this document.
For questions or concerns please contact Cathy Sunlin at CathySunlin@HCAM.org.
Sept. 11, 2020