June 17, 2020

Coronavirus Updates and Resources
COVID-19 has led to outbreaks of respiratory illness in the US. The number of reported cases continues to increase. Providers of all types care for some of the most vulnerable Texans. It is important to stay up to date with all guidance and recommendations from the CDC, HHSC, DSHS and other reliable sources. Below are key resources for providers.

CDC

HHSC

DSHS

NF Special Infection Control Assessments
Special Infection Control Assessment teams began conducting on-site assessments at NFs on June 11. This helped identify infection control concerns and provide immediate recommendations and guidance on infection control practices and mitigation strategies.

More information is available on the NF Special Infection Control Assessments page.

FDA
The FDA has issued a letter to health care providers concerning certain filtering face piece respirators manufactured in China. These respirators may not provide adequate respiratory protection to health care workers exposed to COVID-19, based on performance testing conducted by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The following links provide additional information.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
CMS issued an Interim Final Rule on May 6, 2020. It requires NFs to report data about COVID-19 using the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network COVID-19 LTC Facility Module. The data reported includes:

  • Suspected and confirmed COVID-19 infections among residents and staff
  • Total deaths and deaths related to COVID-19 among residents and staff
  • PPE and hand hygiene supplies
  • Access to COVID-19 testing
  • Staffing shortages
  • Ventilator capacity and supplies

CMS has published preliminary nursing home data reported by NFs to NHSN.

CMS has also added findings of nursing facility COVID-19 Infection Control Surveys to the Nursing Home Compare Website.

Center for Excellence in Aging Services and Long-Term Care
The Center for Excellence in Aging Services and Long-Term Care is a partnership between HHSC and The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. The Center offers a web-based platform for the delivery of best practices. The focus is on geriatrics and disabilities. The content on the website has been adapted to meet the educational needs of a variety of professionals who provide care to people residing in long-term care facilities. Registration is free.

Phase V: Infection Control is now available and includes an interactive review of the key concepts of infection prevention and control in long-term care facilities.

The Center has also hosted several webinars related to COVID-19:

The Center is seeking nominations for health care providers at the CNA, LVN, RN, and APRN levels who have provided excellent person-centered care to people living in NFs or SNFs.

Visit the Center's website for more information, including the nomination criteria and process. Nominations close June 30, 2020 at noon.

Civil Monetary Penalty Funds Available for Purchase of Communication Devices
All NFs are encouraged to apply for up to $3000 in federal CMP funds per facility. These funds are to buy communication devices to aid in connecting residents with their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. Use awarded funds for items such as tablets, webcams, headphones and certain accessories.

Submit completed applications to the CMP Mailbox.

Guidance to NFs on Coordination with Managed Care Organizations
NF providers are contractually required to inform a member’s MCO service coordinator of certain changes, including:

  • Diagnosis of COVID-19
  • Member has left the NF
  • Member requests to return to the community

Find complete information on the TMHP document (PDF).

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