New/updated information is tagged with “**”
**Respiratory Protection in Long-term Care (N95s)
- Safe Start for LTC (updated 7/2/2021)
- Covid-19 Vaccine
- **Respiratory Protection in Long-term Care (N95s)
- Department of Health Webinar Q&A Library
- Covid-19 FAQ’s for AFH’s
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance Documents
- FamHelp: COVID-19 Resources for Family and Friends
- Potential Economic Relief Resources
In response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Health and the Department of Social and Health Services are providing information about how to manage and contain the outbreak.
What may be most important to know is that using infection controls and universal precautions can reduce the risk of the virus spreading. The population of adult family homes residents, considering their comorbidity and often frail health are at increased risk from the virus.
HCS Resumption of In-Person Assessments
Home and Community Services (HCS) is resuming in person client visits for long-term care Medicaid assessment and care planning beginning July 12, 2021. The process will be a hybrid using onsite and remote methods in order to reduce the time spent in-person to what is necessary to support these core functions. Click here to read the letter.
Creating Safer Air Movement for Cooling with Consideration of COVID-19
During the warmer months of the year facilities need to provide cooling for building occupants when air conditioning units and central heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are not available to provide a cool indoor environment. In this situation open windows and portable fans are often used to provide comfort for building occupants. DOH has created a document to provide guidance on safer ways to create air movement for cooling when air conditioning units and a central HVAC system are not available. Click here to access the document.
Long-Term Care Facilities to Follow Safe Start Plan Beyond June 30, 2021
The Safe Start for Long-Term Care Recommendations and Requirements Document (Safe Start Plan) is independent of the Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery, thus, all long-term care settings are required to follow the recommendations and requirements outlined in the Safe Start Plan, even after June 30, 2021. The opening of other programs in Washington under the Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery does not apply to Long-Term Care facilities/homes. Click here to read the entire Dear Provider Letter.
Expiration of the Eviction Moratorium
On August 13, 2020, Residential Care Services (RCS) issued a provider letter indicating Governor Proclamation 20-19.3 applied to long-term care (LTC) facilities and agencies. This proclamation pertained to the eviction moratorium during the COVID-19 outbreak and the RCS provider letter outlined activities prohibited by the moratorium including increasing rent/fees or issuing a notice to vacate for non-payment of fees.
On June 30, 2021 both the federal and state eviction moratoriums are set to expire. At that time, LTC providers will be able to resume issuing a notice of discharge if a resident has not paid fees. Providers will also be able to resume any standard activities related to fee increases.
Click here to read the entire Dear Provider Letter.
Discontinuation of Rapid Response Team
Over the past few months, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Aging and Long-Term Support Administration (ALTSA) has been able to assist providers with short-term staffing issues through the use of a contracted temporary staffing agency that provides Rapid Response Teams throughout the state. This assistance was made possible through funds DSHS received as a part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Unfortunately this funding will be ending on June 30, 2021 and a new funding source has not yet been made accessible. As a result, use of the Rapid Response teams through the DSHS contract will not be available after June 2021. The last day a provider will be able to request use of a team through DSHS is June 26, 2021. Click here to read the full Dear Provider Letter.
#StayConnected – Free Tablets for AFH’s
The evidence is piling up that the ability to #StayConnected is key to overall health. To help residents in Adult Family Homes, the Washington State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program offers free tablets to all AFH owners in the state. But be sure to apply today because the program ends this month! Take 3-minutes today to apply at https://www.waombudsman.org/stay-connected-campaign/.
With these tablets, residents can access social media, games, virtual healthcare, and much more! If you applied before September 1st and have not received a tablet, we encourage you to apply again. We do have a limited supply, so be sure to fill it out today! If you require assistance with the application, please email us at email@example.com.
*A limited supply is available, and the funding will end this month, so be sure to apply as soon as possible.
**Tablets require wi-fi access and filling out the application doesn’t guarantee a tablet. We review and vet all applicants.
Extension of COVID Payments Through December 31, 2021
The Adult Family Home Council signed an agreement with the state of Washington to extend Covid-19 enhanced daily rate of $13.96 per day through the end of the calendar year.
Access to Free Covid-19 Testing in King County
Too busy or unable to go to a testing site? The University of Washington has a Covid Testing program that will come to you! The UW Covid-19 testing team is offering in-home Covid testing for Adult Family Homes in King County at no cost to you. If you are interested in having the UW team come and test you, your employees, and/or residents at your adult family home, please contact April Delgado at AFHcovidtesting@uw.edu
Covid-19 Vaccination Survey
Washington Department of Health released a COVID-19 vaccination survey for assisted living facilities and adult family homes and requests your participation. This will only take a few minutes of your time. The information you provide will be used to understand how vaccination rates fluctuate with staffing and resident movement, and to improve support for COVID-19 vaccination when barriers are identified. You will receive this Public Health vaccination survey monthly.
If your facility is in King County, you may have already been sent a unique survey link, please see additional instructions in the survey link below. Skilled nursing facilities do not have to complete this survey and should report COVID-19 vaccination data to the National Healthcare Safety Network as per CMS requirement.
You may open the survey in your web browser by clicking the link below: https://redcap.doh.wa.gov/surveys/?s=KFRMW8JN4P
For questions, contact LTC-COVID-Vaccination-Survey@doh.wa.gov using subject line: LTC COVID-19 Vaccination Survey.
Source Control Regardless of Vaccination Status
On April 27, 2021 the CDC updated select healthcare infection prevention and control recommendations in response to COVID-19 vaccination, which are summarized in guidance for Infection Control and Vaccination at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infectioncontrol-after-vaccination.html
Regardless of vaccination status, health care providers should continue to wear source control while at work. The new CDC guidance regarding vaccinated persons not needing to wear a mask does not apply in LTC settings, except in those specific cases outlined in the LTC Safe Start plans. Click here to view the updated Safe Start for Long-Term Care Recommendations and Requirements Document in its entirety. Click here to read the full Dear Provider Letter.
Resuming Fingerprint Background Checks
On March 18, 2020, Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-18, which suspended the fingerprint background check requirements for long-term care facilities. Once the temporary suspension of the requirement ends, long-term care workers will again need to complete a fingerprint-based background check as required by law.
Although the COVID-19 public health emergency continues to affect our state, many fingerprint background check locations are open and able to safely provide fingerprint background checks to long-term care staff. While providers have been very diligent in scheduling employee fingerprint appointments when they were able, Department records show that there may be over twenty thousand individuals who still need to complete their fingerprint-based background check. Click here to learn more from the Dear Provider letter.
Critical Survey for AFH Employers
We need your help to get all uncertified caregivers through the testing and certification processes so ALL are able to continue their important roles without interruption. As the state looks to reinstitute the training and certification requirements and timelines, your responses to this survey will help identify where uncertified caregivers are located so we can advocate for testing opportunities in strategic locations where they are needed. Click here to complete the survey. The only information shared with DSHS and DOH will be the number of caregivers needing training by region. The additional information will be retained by the Council, so we can inform you of testing or training opportunities in your community.
Reimplementation of Surveys, Inspections and Evaluations by RCS
According to a Dear Provider Letter dated 3/31/21, Residential Care Services (RCS) is planning a gradual reimplementation of full surveys, inspections, and evaluations beginning in April. The process will be a hybrid using onsite and remote methods, and will combine the standard survey, inspection, or evaluation process with the focused infection prevention assessment process.
Inspections will include:
- AFH Standard Operating Procedures
- Infection Prevention Assessment Pathway and Infection Prevention Assessment Tool other guidance as outlined in updated Dear Provider Letter from 4/9/2021
Extension of COVID Payments Through Second Quarter of 2021
The Adult Family Home Council is working with the state of Washington to extend Covid-19 payments through June 30, 2021. The agreements will include the following:
- A COVID-19 enhanced daily rate of $13.96 per day will be authorized from April 1 through June 30, 2021
- Retainer payments will be available June 30, 2021, for those clients impacted by COVID-19
Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Treatment for Covid-19
On November 21, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for use of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in certain people. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses.
The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and the Department of Health (DOH) are working to provide infusion services for mAb treatments in long-term care settings. Click here to learn more.
Covid-19 Status Updates-Monday/Thursday Reports
Dear Provider letter 2020-017 states the Department is requesting each AFH complete an online report every Monday and Thursday to determine where Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Covid-19 testing is needed.
Hiring New Staff
During this outbreak, while the rules are suspended the only requirement for hiring caregiving staff are:
- Name & Date of Birth Background Check
- Fingerprints recently resumed 021-04-30-1.pdf (wa.gov)
- Orientation and Safety Training
- Facility Orientation
- TB testing requirement suspended
- Management Bulletin 20-016-temporary policy changes for long-term care workers
- WAC 388-112A chapter requirements are temporarily suspended
- 120-day training and 200-day certification requirements are paused if training has started
- Specialty Training timelines are paused
- First Aid/CPR requirement paused
- Continuing Education requirements are paused
- RN Delegation-training and testing for this self study course can be completed remotely
Dear Provider Letters Listserv
- It is very important to stay informed during this time when things are changing quickly. Make sure you are signed up to receive Dear Provider letters from the department.