In addition to the documents we will be uploading as quickly as we can, please utilize these websites for additional information. We have pulled two state websites as they are well done. If you would like to have your state webaddress added to our list, please submit it to Margo Kunze at email@example.com and we will add it.
In addition to all the national coverage be sure to check with your state and local health departments to be sure you are following their state specific recommendations.
Links to keep you updated
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, and we at NIH are doing everything we can toward the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. You can find the latest public health information from CDC at www.coronavirus.gov and the latest research information from NIH at www.nih.gov/coronavirus. Meanwhile, we have posted the April 2020 issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. Download a PDF version for printing.
The excellent Pennsylvania state website is reachable at https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
CDC.gov/coronavirus for updates or more indepth information. Just because it says for long term care does not mean those strategies will not work in an assisted living/personal care home setting.
AHCA/NCAL, The American HealthCare Association and National Center for Assisted Living has guidance specific to assisted living. Their guidelines are on the AALNA Coronavirus page. For additional information go to AHCANCAL.org/coronavirus
AMDA, The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, commonly called AMDA and previously called AMDA – Dedicated to Long Term Care Medicine and American Medical Directors Association, is a medical specialty professional organization with a focus on providing long-term care. https://paltc.org/ & https://paltc.org/COVID-19
April 6, 2020
Supplies Urgently Needed At Long-Term Care Facilities During COVID-19 Pandemic
April 6, 2020
Provider Magazine (4/3, Connole, 151K) reported “skilled nursing and assisted living communities countrywide continue to need urgent supplies of masks, gowns, and related Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as the physical toll of caring for residents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic runs unabated, according to advocates for the long term and post-acute care profession.” Vice president for quality, regulatory, and clinical services at the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living Holly Harmon said, “We cannot do this alone. We cannot beat this virus alone.” Harmon noted “that the association’s leadership, member facilities, and other stakeholders have worked every source to get more PPE where it is needed inside of buildings,” adding, “We appreciate the effort of manufacturers and the public who have helped, but we still need PPE. We need more now, and more needs to be done as facilities get desperate.”
COVID-19 side effect: critical drugs in short supply
Among the many troubles brought by the new coronavirus, key drugs have become hot commodities – and stocks are running low.
Demand has skyrocketed for drugs ranging from asthma inhalers and antibiotics to sedatives needed for mechanical ventilation. Physicians, patient advocates and manufacturers are struggling to ensure adequate access for traditional users and coronavirus patients alike.
Medications necessary to safely ventilate patients are the latest to land on the drug shortages list. These include neuromuscular blockers, sedatives such as fentanyl, midazolam, and propofol, and vasopressors for septic shock, Medscape reported Thursday. Hospital order fulfillment rates for these drugs have dropped as low as 60% and continue to fall up to 3% per day, one pharmacist told the news outlet.
Hospitals are also increasingly using albuterol to help open airways in COVID-19 patients. A recent announcement regarding shortages has increased anxiety among asthma sufferers who use the drug as a rescue inhaler, according to an immunologist’s organization.
Hydroxychloroquine is yet another case in point. The medication, normally used to treat autoimmune disease and malaria, is now being used off-label in the hopes that it will counter the coronavirus in very ill patients. Last week it was added to the Food and Drug Administration’s drug shortages list due to a surge in demand, the agency said. While the FDA has taken steps to encourage donations of hydroxychloroquine to the national stockpile and stepped-up manufacturing, supplies continue to run low.
Meanwhile, orders for antibiotics including azithromycin (used together with hydroxychloroquine), and antiviral medicines like ribavirin, nearly tripled in March due to hospital demand, according to the New York Times.
Even everyday over-the-counter medical supplies have disappeared off retail shelves. Demand has shot up for rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs and wipes, making it difficult for people with diabetes to find what they need to disinfect skin for insulin injections, reports Kaiser Health News. The reason? Health officials have touted isopropyl alcohol as a key ingredient in homemade hand sanitizer and as a home disinfectant.
In all cases, manufacturers have said they are attempting to ramp up production.
April 4, 2020
Laminet is joining the fight against COVID-19- face masks
April 4, 2020
AMDA continues to monitor the COVID-19 Outbreak, and is now sending a daily digest of resources and information collected over the last day.
- Phoenix Senior Living to house discharged hospital patients with COVID-19 as list of industry groups opposing hospital-related orders grows
- First Presumptive Case of Encephalitis Linked to COVID-19 Reported
- Nursing home halts residents’ move after a positive COVID-19 test
- Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Among Residents and Staff Members of an Independent and Assisted Living Community for Older Adults — Seattle, Washington, 2020
- JAMA: Advanced Care Planning and Decisions About DNR Orders During COVID-19
March 30, 2020
Please see the enclosed information from NJDOH – Communicable Disease Service.
March 30, 2020
Please see the enclosed information from NJDOH – Communicable Disease Service.
* SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is currently circulating in New Jersey and the surrounding areas with many healthcare facilities, including the post-acute care setting, being HEAVILY IMPACTED.
• RAPID ACTION IS NEEDED NOW to stop the introduction and spread of this virus in post-acute care facilities.
J. David Weidner
Director, Emergency Management
Health Alert Network (HAN)
|CDC issued the following Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory on March 28, 2020. You are receiving this information because you subscribe to Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) email updates. If a colleague forwarded this email to you, but you would like to receive these emails directly, click here. If you have any questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Please join us on Facebook ||
| Distributed via the CDC Health Alert Network|
March 28, 2020, 1100 ET
|Severe Illness Associated with Using Non-Pharmaceutical Chloroquine Phosphate to Prevent and Treat Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)|
Chloroquine phosphate, when used without a prescription and supervision of a healthcare provider, can cause serious health consequences, including death. Clinicians and public health officials should discourage the public from misusing non-pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate (a chemical used in home aquariums). Clinicians should advise patients and the public that chloroquine, and the related compound hydroxychloroquine, should be used only under the supervision of a healthcare provider as prescribed medications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has become aware of two individuals who ingested non-pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate, a chemical for aquarium use that is commercially available for purchase at stores and through internet websites. One of the individuals died shortly after arrival to the hospital. The second individual was critically ill with severe gastrointestinal symptoms and cardiac conduction abnormalities. Upon recovery, the surviving individual reported to the media that they ingested the product to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), after seeing information on the medical use of chloroquine on television. The product in their possession was in powder form inside a 2.2-lb. container and labeled “for Ornamental Fish Use Only”. CDC is also aware of unconfirmed media reports that these commercially available aquarium-use chemicals may be out of stock due to potential increased demand by the public. At this time, there are no routinely available pharmaceutical products that are FDA-approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. Pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat specific medical conditions, such as malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Currently, these medications are being studied and evaluated as treatment for COVID-19; however, their efficacy to either prevent or treat this infection are unknown. In overdose situations or when used inappropriately, these medications can lead to severe toxicity, including cardiac rhythm disturbances such as prolonged QT, severe hypokalemia, cardiovascular collapse, seizures, coma, and death. Inappropriate uses include taking commercially available non-pharmaceutical preparations, taking chloroquine phosphate or hydroxychloroquine sulfate without a prescription, and taking additional doses not recommended by a healthcare provider. Chloroquine phosphate has a narrow therapeutic index—it can be toxic at levels not much higher than those used for treatment—which raises the risk of inadvertent overdose. Recommendations for Clinicians and Public Health Officials Educate patients on the serious risks of misusing non-pharmaceutical chloroquine products and other aquarium use chemicals. Counsel your patients on the importance of taking medications only as prescribed and as directed by healthcare providers. Contact your local poison center (1-800-222-1222) to report cases and to obtain specific medical management of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine poisoning. Adverse events related to pharmaceuticals can be reported to the FDA MedWatch program (https://www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch-fda-safety-information-and-adverse-event-reporting-program). Adverse events related to non-pharmaceutical products can be reported by emailing FDA-COVID-19-Fraudulent-Products@fda.hhs.gov or calling 1-888-InfoFDA (1-888-463-6332). Recommendations for the Public Do not ingest aquarium use products or any other chemicals that contain chloroquine phosphate. These chemicals are not intended for human consumption and can lead to serious health consequences, including death. Medications like chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate should be taken only when prescribed by and under the supervision of your healthcare provider and always according to the instructions provided. Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing any unexpected symptoms after taking chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine by contacting your healthcare provider or your poison center (1-800-222-1222).
For More Information CDC coronavirus website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus) U.S. Government coronavirus website (https://www.coronavirus.gov/) FDA Letter to Stakeholders (https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/product-safety-information/fda-letter-stakeholders-do-not-use-chloroquine-phosphate-intended-fish-treatment-covid-19-humans)
Banner Health (Phoenix, AZ) press release (https://bannerhealth.mediaroom.com/chloroquinephosphate) Dailymed (https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/index.cfm) for medical prescribing information American College of Medical Toxicology (https://www.acmt.net) for poisoning information Association of American Poison Control Centers (https://www.aapcc.org)
|The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.|
Categories of Health Alert Network messages:
Health Alert – Requires immediate action or attention; highest level of importance
Health Advisory – May not require immediate action; provides important information for a specific incident or situation
Health Update – Unlikely to require immediate action; provides updated information regarding an incident or situation
HAN Info Service – Does not require immediate action; provides general public health information
|##This message was distributed to state and local health officers, state and local epidemiologists, state and local laboratory directors, public information officers, HAN coordinators, and clinician organizations##|
March 21, 2020
Parkinson Appeals for Personal Protection Equipment Donations, Conservation
3/17/2020 Patrick Connole
Of all the challenges long term and post-acute care (LT/PAC) providers are facing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) like masks and gowns is right near the top, said Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) on Tuesday in an exclusive talk with Provider.
He appealed to other provider groups for donations as they review if they can share their own PPE to send to skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, which face a dire threat given that COVID-19 is especially dangerous to the elderly and frail population. LT/PAC providers, Parkinson notes, also must conserve what supplies they have.
“It is critically important that any health care provider who has excess masks, gowns, and gloves, to turn those over to nursing homes and assisted living facilities who desperately need them,” Parkinson says.
Supply disruptions in China where the virus began, as well as increased COVID-19-related demand in skilled nursing and assisted living communities and among clinicians worldwide, are the reasons for the crunch. Even as China gets its manufacturing up and running and U.S. manufacturers attempt to fill in, this process will likely take at least two months, he says.
“Unfortunately, this will be a challenge for that long if not longer,” Parkinson says.
There is positive movement, however, to help providers running low on PPE, notably in Ohio as Gov. Mike DeWine (R) on Monday contacted the Ohio Dental Association and Ohio State Dental Board and asked for help in addressing the spread of COVID-19. Among the recommendations to limit dental procedures to emergencies, the governor appealed to the groups to conduct a review of inventories and identify any surplus PPE supplies.
He then directed that any oversupply be shared with other providers who need them for caring for COVID-19 cases and those most in danger of getting the virus.
“By sharing supplies, we are directly supporting our fellow clinicians as they undertake the greatest viral threat in modern history. By rescheduling elective procedures, we are doing our part to prevent community spread,” DeWine said in his note to the dental community.
Parkinson noted that while states and the federal government have created stockpiles of items like PPE, nobody could have predicted that the “perfect storm” of COVID-19 would occur.
“The virus’ worldwide spread has resulted in a massive increase in utilization of PPE, combined with the fact that its symptoms mirror the common cold and influenza, causing even more use. Production is just starting back up in China and U.S. manufacturing is responding, but it takes time,” he says. Additionally, he said AHCA/NCAL is encouraged that the Trump administration has announced it will be releasing PPE from the national reserve to bolster the dwindling states’ stockpiles.
The other part of the PPE challenge will be for LT/PAC providers to “dramatically” conserve supplies. Parkinson said some small steps the association has heard from members that help on conservation, include to:
- Limit the number of staff in contact with residents or entering the resident’s room necessitating the use of gowns and masks.
- Perform as many care and services as possible at the same time to reduce the frequency of donning/doffing PPE.
- Prior to entering a precaution/isolation room, ensure all needed items are available/gathered to reduce unnecessary disposal of PPE by multiple entries to room.
Interim Guidance for Nursing Facilities During COVID-19 (3/18/20)
March 21, 2020
EvergreenHealth here in
Kirkland, WA, is the US hospital most impacted so far by the COVID-19 outbreak
that began at a local SNF. Check out Dr. Rob Orman’s 45 minute podcast with
Emergency Physician Dr. Patrick Reinfried. It’s packed with front-line
experience and information that will save lives – perhaps even yours.
“COVID: Lessons Learned and First Hand Account From Kirkland, WA.”
March 19, 2020
HCANJ Emergency Management ALERT
- HCANJ is hosting an Important COVID-19 Links page on our website. This list of links includes those from:
· Health Care Organization of New Jersey (HCANJ)
· American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL)
· New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH)
· Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
· Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
· World Health Organization (WHO)
- The HCANJ Comprehensive COVID-19 Toolkit for Long Term Care Centers has been added to our Important COVID-19 Links web page.
- AHCA/NCAL Member Email Update #14 – March 20, 2020 – Interim Guidance on SNFs Accepting Patients from Hospitals
- Supply of masks running low?Thinking outside the box.
RECENT AMERILERT UPDATES:
Please see the attached recent LINCS documents that may answer many important questions your staff my have during COVID-19 Pandemic:
The Communicable Disease Service (CDS) is providing the following updated guidance to assist healthcare facilities and public health officials with decisions concerning discontinuation of transmission-based precautions and home isolation. CDS is also providing two resources for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and close contacts who may or may not have been tested. Please note this guidance may be updated as the information changes.
The following three documents have been UPDATED to align with CDC guidance released 3/16/2020 that reflects a change in the home isolation period for confirmed cases. Updates include:
(1) Guidance for the Discontinuation of Transmission-based Precautions and Home Isolation for Persons Diagnosed with COVID-19: Includes guidance for healthcare workers return to work, guidance for persons who tested positive for COVID-19 but remain asymptomatic, guidance for immunocompromised patients with COVID-19. Updated sections are highlighted in yellow
(2) Sample Discharge Instructions for Persons Diagnosed with COVID-19: Updated to reflect new home isolation guidance. This supersedes previous version.
(3) Frequently Asked Questions for Close Contacts of COVID-19: Updated to reflect new home isolation guidance. This supersedes previous version
(4) Given the congregate nature of long-term care facilities (LTCF) and residents served (e.g., older adults often with underlying chronic medical conditions), this population is at an increased risk of serious illness when infected with COVID-19. LTCF have experience managing respiratory infections and outbreaks among residents and healthcare personnel and should apply those outbreak management principles to COVID-19. Please note this is a rapidly evolving situation and as more data become available this guidance may change.
All LTCFs should remain vigilant with prompt detection, triage, and isolation of potentially infectious persons to prevent unnecessary exposures among residents, healthcare personnel, and visitors at the facility. Please see the attached guidance document for more information and resources. Infection prevention measures include:
- Implement active screening of residents and staff for fever and respiratory symptoms. Remember that older adults may manifest symptoms of infection differently and that other symptomology should also be. Vital signs should include heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, pain and pulse oximetry. These assessments should happen, at a minimum, daily. The facility staff should have a heightened awareness for any change in baseline in their residents.
- Stop current communal dining and all group activities such as internal and external group activities.
- Follow all current CMS guidance regarding the restriction of visitors and non-essential healthcare personnel, except in certain compassionate-care situations -Review the CMS Quality, Safety & Oversight (QSO) Group memo Ref: QSO-20-14-NH at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-14-nh-revised.pdf for expanded recommendations.
- Connect with your ASSOCIATION and monitor NJDOH, CDC, and CMS announcements, at least daily.
- Conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) in accordance with CDC’s Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of PPE – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/index.html.
- Contact your local health department with any questions or concerns. Contact information is available via the local public health directory at http://www.localhealth.nj.gov/.
- Report any new cases or persons suspected of COVID-19 occurring in or associated with your facility to your local health department.
In addition to actions described above and attached, facilities should consider the following immediate actions when there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 to prevent further spread to their residents and staff:
- Close the unit to new admissions except as needed to cohort ill individuals or staff.
- Consider closure of the facility to new admissions.
- Consider implementing universal use of facemask for HCP while in the facility
- Encourage residents to remain in their room. If multiple cases are present restrict residents (to the extent possible) to their rooms except for medically necessary purposes.
- Mask all residents (who can tolerate masks) who are symptomatic when providing direct care: if masks are limited or not tolerated use of a tissue to cover the nose and mouth is appropriate.
- Adhere to internal environmental cleaning protocols to ensure appropriate measures are being taken to clean and disinfect where appropriate including high-touch surfaces and all shared medical equipment (e.g., lifts, blood pressure cuffs, medication carts). Consider increasing the frequency of cleaning in the facility.
Quarantine and monitor exposed contacts in CDC Has provided this CORRECTED information for their upcoming call.
Corrected Zoom Access Links and Dial-in Numbers: Reminder: CDC COCA Call: Underlying Medical Conditions and People at Higher Risk for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Time: 2:00pm3:00pm (ET)
You may participate in this COCA Call via the Zoom platform or via Facebook Live.
Please note, the Zoom access links and dial-in information for this COCA Call have been changed. The corrected information is below:
Or iPhone one-tap:
US: +16692545252,,1613416798# or +16468287666,1613416798#
US: +1 669 254 5252 or +1 646 828 7666
Webinar ID: 161 341 6798
International numbers available: https://www.zoomgov.com/u/acMT9czZKu
- Including healthcare workers and roommates
When transferring a resident to the hospital please remember to send with them:
Up-to-date Contact Information – Please be certain that the information you are sending with the resident to the hospital is correct. Please update your records so that the resident’s family or responsible party can be contacted.
POLST form – The Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form enables residents to indicate their preferences regarding life-sustaining treatment. This form, signed by a resident’s attending physician, advanced practice nurse or physician’s assistant, provides instructions for health care personnel to follow for a range of life-prolonging interventions. This form becomes part of the resident’s medical records, following them from one healthcare setting to another, including hospital, nursing center or hospice. If they don’t currently have one, start the process with the doctor and add to their charts
Advance Directive – An advance healthcare directive (living will), specifying the healthcare interventions a resident wants taken if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity should always accompany the resident.
Having these documents upon admission to the hospital is important to ensure that the hospital can reach family or responsible parties and make timely and accurate care decisions.
Health Care Association Of New Jersey AAA Drive, Suite 203, Hamilton, NJ 08691-1813 (609) 890 8700
AMDA Update on COVID-19
Message from the New Jersey Department of Health for Long Term Care Providers
Please see the below information from the New Jersey Department of Health
Long-term Care Facilities who have a confirmed case of COVID-19 should consider the following immediate action to prevent further spread to their residents and staff: Follow all current CMS guidance regarding the restriction of visitors and non-essential healthcare personnel, except in certain compassionate-care situations STOP current communal dining and all group activities such as internal and external group activities Implement active screening of residents and staff for fever and respiratory symptoms. Remember that older adults may manifest symptoms of infection differently and that other symptomology should also be assessed at minimum, daily. Vital signs should include heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, pain and pulse oximetry. The facility staff should have a heightened awareness for any change in baseline in their residents.
Close the unit to new admissions except as needed to cohort ill individuals or staff Consider closure of the facility to new admissions Consider implementing universal use of facemask for HCP while in the facility Encourage residents to remain in their room. If multiple cases are present restrict residents (to the extent possible) to their rooms except for medically necessary purposes Mask all residents (who can tolerate masks) who are symptomatic when providing direct care; if masks are limited or not tolerated use of a tissue to cover the nose and mouth is appropriate.
Adhere to internal environmental cleaning protocols to ensure appropriate measures are being taken to clean and disinfect where appropriate including high-touch surfaces and all shared medical equipment (e.g., lifts, blood pressure cuffs, medication carts). Consider increasing the frequency of cleaning in the facility.
Quarantine and monitor exposed contacts including healthcare workers and roommates
Remember to report any new cases or persons suspected of COVID-19 to NJDOH and LHD
For more information and ongoing updates please visit:
NJDOH: General COVID-19 Information: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml
NJDOH: Key Messaging to Long-term Care Facilities (LTCF) for COVID-19: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/topics/NCOV/NcOv_LINCS_LTCF_Key%20Messages_03032020.108103.pdf
CMS: Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Nursing Homes (REVISED): https://www.cms.gov/files/document/3-13-2020-nursing-home-guidance-covid-19.pdf
CDC: Preparing for COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/prevent-spread-in-long-term-care-facilities.html
For COVID 19 updates, please continue to check the DOH we site for routinely updated information. https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml
J. David Weidner
Director, Emergency Management
March 17, 2020
Dear AALNA Member,
The AALNA board of directors is deeply concerned about the
COVID-19 pandemic and want to do what we can to help keep
you, our communities and our families safe and healthy. Please read the full letter by clicking on the link below:
MARCH 16, 2020
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS, click on link below:
COCA Call: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Update and Information for Assisted Living & Long-term Care Facilities
| AALNA MEMBERS, |
COCA Call CDC Clinical Outreach and Communication Activity
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Update and Information for Assisted Living & Long-term Care Facilities
Date: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 Time: 2:00pm–3:00pm (ET) Please click the link below to join: https://zoom.us/j/148725646 Or iPhone one-tap: US: +16468769923,,148725646# or +16699006833,,148725646# Or Telephone: US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833 Webinar ID: 148 725 646 International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/anixAVglV
During this COCA Call, presenters will focus on current information about COVID-19 as it relates to long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. Topics will include infection prevention and control guidance, steps facilities should take to prepare, and available resources. Special Request: Due to the high demand we anticipate for this COCA Call, we kindly ask participants to access it in a group format, if possible, to allow for the maximum number of people to participate. Watch on Facebook: You may also participate in this COCA Call by joining COCA’s Facebook Live. Advanced registration is not required. Continuing Education will not be offered for this COCA Call. There will only be a few slides for this COCA Call. Slides will not advance during the presentation portion of this webinar. You can find the slides under the “Call Materials” tab here.
If you are unable to attend this live COCA Call, it will be available to view on-demand a few hours after the call.
Brendan Jackson, MD, MPH COVID-19 Response Clinical Team Centers for Disease Control and Prevention LCDR
Kara M. Jacobs Slifka, MD, MPH (USPHS) COVID-19 Response Infection Prevention and Control Team Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The Emergency Risk Communication Branch in the Division of Emergency Operations, Center for Preparedness and Response is responsible for the management of all COCA products.
For information about this update or other clinical issues, or to send your feedback, please contact us at email@example.com
CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity Facebook page—connect with COCA on Facebook Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity—resources for healthcare providers COCA RSS Feed—subscribe to be notified of conference calls, updates, and CDC guidance for health providers Crisis & Emergency Risk Communication Training—training program that draws from lessons learned during public health emergencies, and incorporates best practices from the fields of risk and crisis communication Health Alert Network—CDC’s primary method of sharing cleared information about urgent public health incidents with public information officers; federal, state, territorial, and local public health practitioners; clinicians; and public health laboratories
CDC and HHS logos are the exclusive property of the Department of Health and Human Services and may not be used for any purpose without prior express written permission. Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Links to non-federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. Links do not constitute an endorsement of any organization by CDC or the federal government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organizations.
MARCH 14, 2020
Medicare & Coronavirus
Your health, safety, and welfare in the face of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is our highest priority. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. Older people may be twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness. This means that most people with Medicare are at higher risk.
|For the latest information on the coronavirus, including travel advisories, visit the CDC’s website.|
Precautions to take now
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean your hands often.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being out in public, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places, like elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, and handshaking with people. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
- Avoid touching your face, nose, and eyes.
- Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces—tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks and cell phones.
Extra caution with crowds and travel
- Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
- The CDC recommends that you defer all cruise ship travel worldwide, particularly if you also have underlying health issues.
- Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put you at increased risk for more severe disease. In addition to avoiding crowded places, you should avoid non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.
Preparing for healthcare needs
- Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (like tissues) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
- Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you’ll be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
Medicare covers related needs
- Medicare covers the lab tests for COVID-19. You pay no out-of-pocket costs .
- Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations. This includes if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 and might otherwise have been discharged from the hospital after an inpatient stay, but instead you need to stay in the hospital under quarantine.
- At this time, there’s no vaccine for COVID-19. However, if one becomes available, it will be covered by all Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D).
- If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have access to these same benefits. Medicare allows these plans to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 lab tests. Many plans offer additional telehealth benefits beyond the ones described below. Check with your plan about your coverage and costs.
Telehealth & related services
Medicare covers “virtual check-ins” so you can connect with your doctor by phone or video, or even an online patient portal, to see whether you need to come in for a visit. If you’re concerned about illness and are potentially contagious, this offers you an easy way to remain at home and avoid exposure to others.
- You may be able to communicate with your doctors or certain other practitioners without necessarily going to the doctor’s office in person for a full visit. Medicare pays for “virtual check-ins”—brief, virtual services with your established physician or certain practitioners where the communication isn’t related to a medical visit within the previous 7 days and doesn’t lead to a medical visit within the next 24 hours (or soonest appointment available).
- You need to consent verbally to using virtual check-ins and your doctor must document that consent in your medical record before you use this service. You pay your usual Medicare coinsurance and deductible for these services.
- Medicare also pays for you to communicate with your doctors using online patient portals without going to the doctor’s office. Like the virtual check-ins, you must initiate these individual communications.
- If you live in a rural area, you may use communication technology to have full visits with your doctors. The law requires that these visits take place at specified sites of service, known as telehealth originating sites, and get services using a real-time audio and video communication system at the site to communicate with a remotely located doctor or certain other types of practitioners. Medicare pays for many medical visits through this telehealth benefit.
Other ways Medicare is helping
Every day, Medicare is responsible for developing and enforcing the essential health and safety requirements that health care providers must meet. When you go to a healthcare provider, you expect a certain standard of care, and we work to make sure you get it. That includes taking additional steps in response to coronavirus:
- Establishing new codes to allow providers to correctly bill for services related to diagnosis and treatment of the illness.
- Instructing our national network of State Survey Agencies and Accrediting Organizations to focus all their efforts on infection prevention and other cases of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and hospitals.
- Instructing nursing homes and hospitals to review their infection control procedures, which they’re required to maintain at all times.
- Issuing important guidance answering questions that nursing homes may have with respect to addressing cases of COVID-19.