Tuesday, October 20, 2020

US Department of Labor Provides Relief for SNFs Furnishing Care to Veterans

On October 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued Directive 2021-01 titled Extending the Scheduling Moratorium for Veterans Affairs Health Benefits Program (VAHBP) Providers. The purpose of the directive is to maintain access to health care for veterans by extending a moratorium on the enforcement of affirmative obligations required of VAHBP providers. The OFCCP defines VAHBP providers “as an umbrella term to encompass health care providers that contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including those in Veterans Affairs Community Care Networks, as well as Veterans Care Agreements created pursuant to 2018 VA MISSION Act.”  

In the sub regulatory policy announced in this directive, the OFCCP voiced concern that the current expiration of the VAHBP enforcement moratorium, in addition to the lack of a regulatory exemption for VAHBP providers, may cause health care providers to decide against contracting with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, thereby reducing access to health care, including long term care, for protected veterans and their families. Therefore, in this policy, the OFCCP will exercise its prosecutorial discretion to extend the moratorium as it applies to VAHBP providers by two years, until May 7, 2023, which the OFCCP believes will provide sufficient time to consider whether a national interest exemption for VAHBP providers is warranted.

Furthermore, the OFCCP assures that while the moratorium serves as an exemption to enforcement of affirmative obligations and being neutrally scheduled for a compliance evaluation, it does not relieve VAHBP providers as to enforcement of nondiscrimination obligations or being subject to discrimination complaint investigations.

White House Announces Vaccination Distribution Program for LTC Residents

On Friday, October 16, the White House announced​ the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program—a national vaccine distribution program for long term care residents.

The COVID-19 vaccine will likely become available in phases over the coming months. To prepare, the federal government has partnered with CVS and Walgreens to distribute and administer the vaccine to residents in long term care facilities. This program is free of charge and covers all of the reporting requirements associated with the vaccine. Vaccination for health care workers will be handled by states, and likely take place in early phases of distribution.

Starting on Monday, October 19, long term care facilities (nursing homes, assisted living communities, ICF/IIDs and other congregate settings for older adults) will have two weeks to register with the CDC on how they want to receive and administer the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. Nursing homes will be able to register through the NHSN website, while assisted living communities and other congregate​ settings can register through an online survey. ​Additional information and sign-up details can be accessed here.  

2020 Health Care Observances

November 2020 marks, among other observances, National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. The 2020 Healthcare Observances Calendar can be found here.

Legislative and Agency Corner

Articles and Resources of Interest

Due November 12: Submit Your 2021 AHCA/NCAL Quality Award Intent to Apply Today

The National Quality Award portal is now open, and accepting Intent to Apply submissions for the 2021 program year.  

We hope you’ll consider applying for this important award. Participating in the program has many benefits:
  • It provides a proven framework that organizations can use to make improvements in any clinical, quality or other operational function (i.e. staff engagement, customer satisfaction, hospital readmissions).
  • It prepares organizations to meet regulatory requirements and navigate a changing market. 
  • It serves as a team building activity to engage staff across all levels of the organization.
  • Organizations gain external recognition, serving as a marketing resource for consumers, referral sources and other key stakeholders.
  • ​Participants receive customized feedback with their top strengths and improvement areas.
Please visit the Quality Award Website to download applications and materials for your respective award level and to learn how your facility should begin preparing.

Key 2021 Program Dates:
  • November 12, 2020 – Intent to Apply Deadline
  • January 28, 2021 – Application and Fee Deadline 
Examiner Program Applications Available!

If you’re interested in other ways to get involved, consider becoming an Examiner for the 2021 program cycle. Examiners play a significant role in reviewing Quality Award applications and impacting quality improvement in organizations across the country. 

Get started today by visiting ahcancal.org/qualityaward! For questions, email qualityaward@ahca.org​.

Registration for the 71st AHCA/NCAL Virtual Convention & Expo Closes Friday Oct. 23

Catch up on anything you have missed since convention opened. All education and General Sessions are now available on demand, and you’ll have until 11:59 PM on October 31 to access the platform.

You can earn up to 50 CEs.

Register for Convention Today!