COVID-19 Updates

As we continue to navigate through this unprecedented time, we know a lot of updates have come from both federal and state agencies. We have compiled a list of updates that you may find useful.

 Administration :

Administration Launches New Toolkit to Help States Navigate COVID-19 Health Workforce Challenges – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR) released a new toolkit to help state and local healthcare decision-makers maximize workforce flexibilities when confronting COVID-19. This toolkit includes a full suite of available resources to maximize responsiveness based on state and local needs. The COVID-19 Healthcare Workforce Toolkit builds on the steps CMS has taken to ensure healthcare facilities are fully staffed and equipped to treat COVID-19 patients as efficiently as possible. The online toolkit includes an assistance center, information exchange of case studies, and additional peer-to-peer communications that can be used to help local communities determine the best way to battle COVID-19 based on their unique needs. The Healthcare Workforce Toolkit is housed on the ASPR Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE). The COVID-19 Healthcare Workforce Toolkit is here. (CMS 4/22) 

CMS Releases Additional Blanket Waivers for Long-Term Care Hospitals, Rural Health Clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and Intermediate Care Facilities– CMS continues to release additional blanket waivers to the healthcare community in order to provide the flexibilities needed to take care of patients during this public health emergency. Today, CMS provided additional blanket waivers, effective retroactively to March 1, 2020, through the end of the emergency declaration, related to care for patients in Long-Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs), temporary expansion locations of Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), staffing and training modifications in Intermediate Care Facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and the limit for substitute billing arrangements (locum tenens). The guidance is available here

Social Security Costs Expected to Exceed Total Income in 2021: Trustees for Social Security and Medicare in an annual report said the latest estimate for when benefits would exceed income is one year later than previously projected. But the projections do not account for the potential effects of the pandemic, which could substantially boost costs and accelerate the depletion of the trust funds. The trustees said the uncertainty of the virus’s impact made it impossible to adjust estimates accurately. “The actual status of the program in the near term is almost certainly somewhat less favorable than is presented in this year’s trustees’ report,” a senior administration official said of Social Security. “It’s clear that employment, earned income, and payroll-tax revenue will be significantly affected and lower for at least a portion of 2020 than estimated for the report. Additional claims for retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits might increase costs.” In their annual report, the trustees said they expect Social Security’s reserves to be depleted by 2035. (WSJ 4/22)