In The News

NAHC COVID-19 Updates

Cases are Rising in Nearly Every Corner of the United States

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are rising in a majority of American states, in what appears to be the first widespread increase since the peak of the Omicron surge in January.

Reports of new cases were nearly flat in the United States at the beginning of April, but as the month draws to a close, they are increasing in all but three states, signaling a wave that is increasingly national in scope.

“Most of the cases are relatively mild,” said Dr. Eric S. Toner, a senior scholar at the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Read more @ NY Times

COVID Deaths No Longer Overwhelmingly Among the Unvaccinated as Toll on Elderly Grows

Unvaccinated people accounted for the overwhelming majority of deaths in the United States throughout much of the coronavirus pandemic. But that has changed in recent months, according to a Washington Post analysis of state and federal data.

The pandemic’s toll is no longer falling almost exclusively on those who chose not to or could not get shots, with vaccine protection waning over time and the elderly and immunocompromised — who are at greatest risk of succumbing to covid-19, even if vaccinated — having a harder time dodging increasingly contagious strains.

Read more @ Washington Post

Virus Mutations Aren’t Slowing Down. New Omicron Subvariant Proves It

During those terrifying early days of the pandemic, scientists offered one piece of reassuring news about the novel coronavirus: It mutated slowly. The earliest mutations did not appear to be consequential. A vaccine, if and when it was invented, might not need regular updating over time.

This proved overly optimistic.

The coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has had billions of chances to reconfigure itself as it has spread across the planet, and it continues to evolve, generating new variants and subvariants at a clip that has kept scientists on their toes. Two-and-a-half years after it first spilled into humans, the virus has repeatedly changed its structure and chemistry in ways that confound efforts to bring it fully under control.

Read more @ Washington Post

COVID's New Omicron Sub-Lineages Can Dodge Immunity from Past Infection, Study Says

Two new sublineages of the Omicron coronavirus variant can dodge antibodies from earlier infection well enough to trigger a new wave, but are far less able to thrive in the blood of people vaccinated against COVID-19, South African scientists have found.

The scientists from multiple institutions were examining Omicron's BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages - which the World Health Organization last month added to its monitoring list. They took blood samples from 39 participants previously infected by Omicron when it first showed up at the end of last year.

Read more @ Reuters


2022 Virtual DOL Care Industry Forum

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division will host a two-day virtual event that will be held on May 25 – 26, 2022 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. MT, to provide guidance on federal requirements pertaining to the Care Industry in the agency’s 11 States across the Southwest region.

Attendance is free, but space is limited.  Please register at the registration page

The forum will provide information about regulations impacting the Care Industry such as wages, medical leave, and other programs.

Representatives from the following agencies are scheduled to make presentations:

Email [email protected] if you have any questions.


Ride-Sharing Partnerships Offer High ROI, Workforce Relief for Home Care Companies

Home Health Care News | By Joyce Famakinwa
The right partnership can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to expand their service offerings, enhance their internal operations or even gain an edge over competitors.
Over the years, home care providers have gone beyond just forming relationships with industry peers. These collaborations have yielded a significant return on investment (ROI) for agencies. 
In general, home care organizations have partnered with food delivery companies, fitness companies and home modification companies, just to name a few examples. For 24 Hour Home Care and Georgetown Home Care, its collaborations with rideshare companies that have driven key results.
24 Hour Home Care’s “Ride With 24” initiative is a partnership between the company, Uber (NYSE: UBER) and Lyft (Nasdaq: LYFT). It connects seniors with on-demand transportation. Instead of needing a smartphone, a senior can call a toll-free number and have a concierge-like individual help them book a ride over the phone.
Though partnerships between home-based care providers and rideshare companies have become more common over the years, 24 Hour Home Care was one of the first in the industry to team up with Uber, Ryan Iwamoto, president and co-founder of 24 Hour Home Care, told Home Health Care News.
“We were one of their beta partners for their Uber Health platform,” he said. “The idea for the partnership started because we saw one of our offices using Uber. When we drilled down, we found out the office was using Uber to get caregivers to clients in emergencies, or in situations where they weren’t able to transport themselves to the client’s home. We thought that leveraging these services was an amazing idea.”

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Why Accuracy, Timeliness Will Be More Important Than Ever in OASIS-E

Home Health Care News | By Joyce Famakinwa
Getting an accurate and timely OASIS is a challenge that home health providers continue to face. As providers continue to gear up for OASIS-E, it will be important to follow a set of processes that will help set them up for success.
“We’ve got to be thinking about how we can make this better,” Cindy Krafft, co-owner and co-founder of consulting firm Kornetti & Krafft Health Care Solutions, said earlier this month during a presentation at the annual Illinois HomeCare & Hospice Council (IHHC) conference. “I think OASIS-E is going to be a great place to start. A great place to say, however we did it before, how can we do better going forward?”
Broadly, the implementation of OASIS-E comes after public health emergency-related delays. OASIS-E is set to be implemented on Jan. 1, 2023, in order to line up with the start of the nationwide expansion of the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) Model.
Since payment and outcomes for providers are directly impacted by OASIS data collection, it’s crucial that the data accurately reflects the status of the patient.
Thus, intake has a major impact on getting a clean and speedy OASIS.
During intake there are several key questions to be considered, according to Krafft: Which physician will provide the face-to-face encounter for the patient’s home health services?; What is included in the face-to-face documentation to support services for the patient?; What additional information should be requested to support eligibility for the patient’s care?; What must you ensure is provided in the referral order for services?
Providers should remember that physicians are responsible for diagnosis assignment.

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CMS Proposes Updates to Reduce Barriers to Coverage, Simplify Medicare Enrollment and Expand Access

Proposed rule would create Special Enrollment Periods, reduce gaps in Medicare coverage and improve administration of the Medicare Savings Programs.

[The] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule to update Medicare enrollment and eligibility rules that would expand coverage for people with Medicare and advance health equity. This proposed rule would provide Medicare coverage the month immediately after enrollment, thereby reducing the uninsured period and expand access through Medicare special enrollment periods (SEPs). It would also allow eligible beneficiaries to receive Medicare Part B coverage without a late enrollment penalty. This proposed rule would make it easier for people to enroll in Medicare and eliminate delays in coverage.

Read Full Announcement

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