New/updated information is tagged with “**”
- Safe Start for LTC (updated 4/30/2021)
- Covid-19 Vaccine
- L&I and DOH Guidance for Respirators (N95s) and PPE for Long-Term Care and Other Resources
- 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.
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.
No Restrictions on Admissions to Adult Family Homes
Unless you have a current Covid outbreak in your AFH, there are no restrictions on admitting new residents or readmitting residents who have been hospitalized or in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). Hospital and SNF capacity are at critical levels and there is a need for other long-term care settings to accept patients who are ready for a more appropriate level of care. Here are some guidelines when admitting or readmitting residents:
- The resident should quarantine for 14 days upon admission. A negative Covid-19 test is not required nor necessarily a good indication of exposure.
- Virtual tours are recommended since in-person tours are prohibited
- Residents under quarantine are not eligible for in-person visits. Virtual visits should be encouraged
Rapid Response Short-Term Crisis Staffing
DSHS is contracting with temporary nurse staffing agencies to provide Rapid Response Crisis Staffing teams in order to provide short-term staffing support to supplement long-term care facilities experiencing challenges in caring for residents due to positive Covid-19 cases in the home.
Providers can request support from a Rapid Response team for one or more of the following reasons:
- Staff or resident/client COVID outbreak that threatens the ability of the facility or agency to meet the ongoing needs of residents or clients.
- Situations where a facility or agency will significantly benefit from short-term respite for direct nursing and personal care assistance staff; and
- Facilities with a sudden and unexpected nursing and aide staff absences for COVID or other infectious disease related reasons that would threaten the ability to provide care or services to residents or clients.
Click here to learn more about the program and to request assistance.
StayConnected Campaign: More Tablets Available
The Washington State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program received over 1,000 applications at the beginning of the pandemic for 7-inch Amazon Fire Tablets through the #StayConnected campaign. With these tablets, residents can access social media, video conferencing apps, and much more to connect with family and essential services like the Washington State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. After hearing about how badly our community needed these tools, we got to work. They applied for a grant that could give every eligible facility a tablet, but need one more thing. They need a statement that applicants understand that these tablets require wi-fi.
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.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Contingency Strategies for PPE During the Covid-19 Pandemic
- PPE Requests for AFH’s with positive Covid-19 cases-UPDATED Dear Provider Letter 2020-011
- PPE Requests for King County Only.
- PPE requests for Pierce County Only
- PPE requests for Spokane County Only
- PPE request through the Association of Washington Businesses
- **PPE Resources for Thurston County
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 (federal fingerprint testing paused)
- 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
- Management Bulletin MB 20-017 for information about assessments
- Assessment will be completed by phone or using other technology whenever possible
- If there is a concern for client health or safety or a client requests a visit, Case Managers will use their professional judgement to determine how to respond
- Private pay assessments: there is no requirement for these to be in-person (WAC 388-76-10335 through 10350)
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.