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  • March 24, 2020 10:48 AM | Deleted user

    Today Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued a shelter in place order to be in effect from Wednesday, March 25 at 8:00am until Friday, April 24 at 8:00am. This means all non-essential in-person services will stop and Wisconsinites are discouraged from leaving their homes except for essential activities and to conduct work at essential business and operations as defined below. Note: The following is a summary. For exact language, please refer to the linked order. 

    Essential Activities

    Individuals may leave homes or residences to perform any of the following:

    ·  Health and safety. 

    ·  Obtain Necessary supplies and services. 

    ·  Outdoor activity. 

    ·  Certain types of work at essential business and operations.

    ·  Take care of others.  

    Essential Business and Operations

    Individuals may leave their homes or residences to work at the following:

    ·  Healthcare and Public Health Operations - Includes, but is not limited to: home health agencies and providers; hospitals; medical facilities; clinics; ambulatory surgery centers for response to urgent health issues or related COVID-19 activities;manufacturers, technicians, logistics, and warehouse operators and distributors of medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE),medical gases, pharmaceuticals, blood and blood products, vaccines, testing materials, laboratory supplies, cleaning, sanitizing disinfecting or sterilization supplies, and tissue and paper towel products; dental offices; pharmacies; public health entities, pharmaceutical, pharmacy, medical device and equipment, and biotechnology companies; healthcare information technology companies; organizations collecting blood, platelets, plasma, and other necessary materials; obstetricians, gynecologists, and midwife practices; eye care centers, including those that sell glasses and contact lenses; mental health and substance abuse providers; detoxification and alcohol or drug treatment programs and facilities; syringe access programs, and naloxone distribution programs; other healthcare facilities and suppliers and providers of any related or any ancillary health care services; entities that transport and dispose of medical materials and remains; personal care agencies; hospices; allied health providers;acupuncturists; massage therapists; chiropractors; and adult family homes.

    ·  Essential Governmental Operations.

    ·  Human Service Operations

    ·  Essential Infrastructure

    ·  Many others to be found in the order language

     

    All previous emergency executive orders also remain in effect. Those can be found here. 

    We will continue to provide updates.


  • March 23, 2020 4:30 PM | Deleted user

    NAHC, March 23, 2020

    Listen to NAHC President William A. Dombi discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the Disrupt podcast from Home Health Care News. Bill talks about what home health care workers need right now (PPE!) and what NAHC is doing to make sure our people are safe and quality care in the home remains at the center of the effort to slow and stop the spread of the coronavirus.

    :: Listen now!


  • March 23, 2020 10:56 AM | Deleted user

    March 23, 2020

     

    The Honorable Tony Evers

    Governor, State of Wisconsin

    115 East, State Capitol

    Madison, WI 53702

     

    Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm
    Wisconsin Department of Health Services
    1 West Wilson St, Room 650
    Madison, WI 53703

     

    Dear Governor Evers and Secretary-designee Palm, 

    First, thank you for the measures you have taken so far to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Your actions have pragmatically addressed this growing problem in the best interest of Wisconsin.  

    As you prepare to issue tomorrow's Safer at Home order, the Wisconsin Association for Home Health Care, Inc. (WiAHC) urges you to allow home health care agencies to continue to provide our essential, life-sustaining services throughout the public health emergency. Home health care agencies and the RNs and LPNs who deliver home health care services must be considered essential services under the order. The home health patients who rely on our services simply cannot afford to be without care during this time and our skilled nursing staff needs to continue to provide that needed care. 

    While we request home health care services be considered essential services, we also request you allow for following two changes to DHS 133 administrative code that will allow our skilled nursing staff to conduct certain home health visits telephonically:

    ·         DHS 133.18 Supervisory visits.

    o    Current rule language: (1) If a patient receives skilled nursing care, a registered nurse shall make a supervisory visit to each patient's residence at least every 2 weeks. The visit may be made when the home health aide is present or when the home health aide is absent. If the patient is not receiving skilled nursing care, but is receiving another skilled service, the supervisory visit may be provided by the appropriate therapist providing a skilled service.

    o    Current rule language: (2) If home health aide services are provided to a patient who is not receiving skilled nursing care, or physical, occupational or speech-language therapy, the registered nurse shall make a supervisory visit to the patient's residence, when the home health aide is present or when the home health aide is absent, at least every 60 days to observe or assist, to assess relationships, and to determine whether goals are being met and whether home health services continue to be required.

    o    Our request is to allow for a grace period of an additional 14 days to conduct supervisory visits for both the 14-day requirement under sub. sec. 1 and the 60-day requirement under sub. sec. 2 while the state is under a public health emergency. Additionally, we request DHS allow agencies to conduct supervisory visits via telephone or videoconferencing while the state is under a public health emergency.

    ·         DHS 133.20 Plan of care.

    o    Current rule language: (3) Review of plan. The total plan of care shall be reviewed by the attending physician, advanced practice nurse prescriber, or physician assistant, and appropriate agency personnel as often as required by the patient's condition, but no less often than every 60 days. The agency shall promptly notify the physician, the advanced practice nurse prescriber, or the physician assistant of any changes in the patient's condition that suggest a need to modify the plan of care.  

    o    We request DHS allow home health care agencies to conduct any necessary visits from RNs associated with the 60-day review process to be done via telephone or videoconferencing while the state is under a public health emergency.

    Thank you for your attention to these matters. If you have any questions, please contact Tim Hoven ( tim@hovenconsulting.com) and me (erik@hovenconsulting.com).

     

    Thank you,

    --

    Erik Kanter
    Hoven Consulting, Inc.


  • March 23, 2020 10:51 AM | Deleted user

    Governor Evers announced today that he be issuing a “Safer at Home” order effective Tuesday, March 24.  Organizations and individuals providing essential care and services will be allowed to continue travelling to and from work.  This includes healthcare professionals, grocers and family caregivers.  The full details of the order to be announced by the Governor’s office.  Everyone else is asked to not take any unnecessary trips, and to limit travel to essential needs such as getting medications and groceries. 

    This order is based on the advice and counsel of public health experts, healthcare providers and first responders on the front line of our state’s response to the pandemic.  These unprecedented measures are necessary to reduce rate of spread in COVID-19 cases.  We must do everything we can to keep our healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed, and protect both the public and essential healthcare workers who are taking care of the critically ill.


  • March 23, 2020 10:30 AM | Deleted user

    NACH, March 20, 2020 

    On Friday, March 20, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) held a call with home health organizations to discuss recent developments related to the novel coronavirus COVID-19.  Even though the call was specific to home health agencies there hospice questions addressed, as well.

    CMS indicated it plans to hold similar calls weekly, but these have not yet been scheduled.  Stay tuned to NAHC Report for additional information.

    This was a short 30-minute call in which CMS briefly summarized recent activity related to the 1135 waivers and home health providers and then responded to questions from callers. The questions and answers are below. “We” in the answers is CMS.

    Q: Do our agencies need to submit 1135 waiver requests or is a request submitted by a department of health or association on our behalf sufficient?

    A:  If your concerns are listed on the waiver requests it is fine. No need to send another. When we look at specific provider requests, we do look at whether it would be good to have it applicable to all.

    Q:  Does the 1135 waiver that allows telehealth for F2F visits include both home health and hospice, and if included will there be a code added for COVID19 to allow for billing?

    A:  Telehealth for the F2F encounter for home health is allowed under the existing waiver. We are looking to update this on our website and FAQ pages and should see this later today. We are continuing to look at what additional flexibilities that we have in regard to hospice, but we are not able at this time to make additional waivers in regard to the 1135 process. We are looking closely and very seriously to these concerns . Also, by regulation, the cost of remote patient monitoring, if used to augment the patient care process, is allowed on the home health cost report.

    Telehealth cannot be used to substitute for an in person visit – statute prohibits this, but we are still looking closely to see what flexibilities we have.

    Q:  I think I can infer from your last statement that hospice is not part of the 1135 waiver and I am puzzled by this because it is inconsistent with social distancing guidance and I am curious if soon we can anticipate a waiver covering these F2F visits for certification, and if it does occur will it be retroactive?

    A:  The statute under which we operate is very different between home health and hospice. It relates to section 1834(m) which does not include hospice telehealth. The 1135 waiver specifically references our ability to provide telehealth waivers specific to 1834(m). We are thinking as creatively as we can as to whether we have additional flexibility under this authority or other types of authorities.

    Q: So in order for our medical directors to feel like we are providing care responsibly we feel it is mandatory that we forgo F2F visits to protect the health of our patients and our staff when we already have a staff person on site who can give the information to the physician for a hospice certification decision.

    A:  This is along the lines of our thinking and we continue to look at this scenario.

    Q:  Do you think hospices will be penalized for trying to protect the safety of their staff and their patients?

    A:  We certainly understand the need for safety and we are making efforts to try to align the payment policies, processes and regulations with this need.

    Q:  Please reiterate what you are saying about telehealth for F2F for home health and home health homebound status – will it be extended to cover  COVID-19?

    A:  Homebound – in regard to individuals contraindicated to leave their home in this COVID emergency, we are looking to see what additional flexibilities we might be able to grant. With regard to the F2F visit, it can be performed by teleahtlh in accordance with the 1135 waiver. With regard to aspects of other telehealth visits – telehealth cannot be substituted for other in-person visits.

    Q:  Providers are increasingly low on masks and other supplies. Will you change regulations as they get increasingly lower?

    A:  We understand the concern across all settings about this shortage and we are working with the CDC to look at guidelines and see how they can be modified. We do encourage you to look at state and local systems as they have the ability to manage the stockpile.

    Additional questions can be submitted to 1135waiver@cms.hhs.gov.

    Posted in NAHC ReportTagged 1135 waiverCMSCoronavirusCovid-19Face-to-Facewaivers 

    President Signs Coronavirus Response Act with Emergency Paid Sick Leave


  • March 02, 2020 10:51 AM | Deleted user

    On February 26, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers vetoed Senate Bill 821, which passed both the State Senate and State Assembly on February 20. Just two Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Steve Doyle of Onalaska and Nick Milroy of South Range, voted for the bill. Every Republican lawmaker supported the legislation. 

    The bill aimed to cut taxes by $250 million, which, according to estimates, would have reduced the average tax bill by over $100. The cut would have been funded by the positive revenue numbers reported earlier this year. 

    On February 26, Governor Tony Evers vetoed the legislation on February 26 citing concerns that the tax cuts were made at the expense of further investment in public schools. 

    In his veto message, Evers stated, “…[T]his bill fails to acknowledge or address the continued, inordinate burden that has been placed on our public schools, local governments, and Wisconsin families. Since 2011, nearly one million Wisconsinites have voted to raise their own taxes to support local schools. In 2018 alone, voters approved more than $2 billion in debt and revenue increases for local schools. This is not sustainable.” 

    The statement went on to say, “We do not have to choose between funding for our kids and our schools and providing property tax relief—we can and should do both.” The move was expected and consistent with Evers’ prioritization of education funding. 

    The Governor’s veto was met with criticism from Republican legislative leaders. “It seems that Governor Evers is obsessed with growing government more than addressing the needs of the middle class. This was a missed opportunity to do the right thing,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. 

    Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald also expressed discontent, saying, “While I’m disappointed in the governor’s actions, I’m not surprised – this is the second income tax cut he’s vetoed as governor.” 

    The State Assembly planned to make its February 20 floor date its last of the 2019-2020 session. As of this writing, there has been no indication that will change. The State Senate is planning on holding its last floor session in March. It’s unclear if the State Senate will attempt to override the veto. A successful override would be extremely difficult. It would take 22 votes to successfully override a veto. The Republicans currently have 19 seats. It’s doubtful they could pick up three Democratic votes.


  • March 02, 2020 10:31 AM | Deleted user

    Since the start of the year, a number of legislators have stated they will not be seeking reelection to their current positions. As of this writing, twelve legislators have announced they will not seek reelection. Six of those are retiring. The other six are running for higher office.

    The six retiring are as follows:

    • Sen. Dave Hansen (D – Green Bay): 30th Senate District
    • Sen. Mark Miller (D – Monona): 16th Senate District
    • Sen. Luther Olsen (R – Ripon): 14th Senate District
    • Rep. Deb Kolste (D – Janesville): 44th Assembly District
    • Rep. Bob Kulp (R – Stratford): 69th Assembly District
    • Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R – Neenah): 55th Assembly District

    The six seeking higher office are as follows:

    • Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R – Juneau): Running for Congress in the WI 5th Congressional District.
    • Sen. Tom Tiffany (R – Minocqua): Running for Congress in the WI 7th Congressional District.
    • Rep. Joan Ballweg (R – Markesan): Running for State Senate in 14th Senate District
    • Rep. Melissa Sargent (D – Madison): Running for State Senate in 16th Senate District
    • Rep. Rob Stafsholt (R – New Richmond): Running for State Senate in 10th Senate District
    • Rep. Amanda Stuck (D – Appleton): Running for Congress in WI 8th Congressional District

    These twelve announcements signal significant turnover in the next legislative session. More announcements are likely to come before legislators begin filing for candidacy in April. 


  • January 31, 2020 10:52 AM | Deleted user

    Putting Home Care First with the Power of One

    Sign Up!

     

    2020 is still in its infancy, but this year will be historic for policy advocacy here in our nation's capital and around the country. 

    Big issues on the table concerning everything from immigration to health care and home health care and hospice services are an integral part of that debate. More and more Americans are choosing to receive care and services in the comfort of their own homes and to age in place. The home health care and hospice communities are struggling to meet the ever growing demand amidst nursing and caregiver shortages. For those of us in the Home Care and Hospice Party, our attention will be focused like a laser on solutions to the problems faced by the millions of Americans who provide and depend on quality health care in the home. 

    Here at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), advocacy never sleeps AND never has it been more important for individuals to exercise their constitutional right to participate in the democratic process through advocacy; especially when it concerns the ability to receive quality health care and hospice services in the home. 

    We need you to join us in our advocacy effort to put
    "Home Care First" with the
    Power of One!
     

    Forward this email today to ONE friend, or colleague, and ask them to sign up as an advocate by clicking:
    HERE

    If every person gets ONE other person to sign up, we will be more than 100K strong in just a week's time.

    2020 is new and full of possibilities and you can play an integral role helping us to build our army, strengthen our voice and the heartbeat of the industry.


  • January 05, 2020 10:55 AM | Deleted user

    Is your agency interested in COS-C Certification for your staff? WiAHC is exploring this potential interest for our members. Please share your feedback by January 31. 

    Take the Questionnaire Here 

     This potential workshop is designed to

    ·         Support the educational needs of home health clinicians in achieving comprehension and accuracy in OASIS data collection using guidelines established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

    ·         Provide a preparatory review for candidates for the COS-C (Certificate for OASIS Specialist-Clinical) examination. Please note that if you plan to take the COS-C Exam, it requires an additional fee.

    ·         Supply the knowledge and tools necessary to boost clinical confidence while building a foundation of data collection precision.

    ·         Provide relevant nursing Continuing Education credit required for license renewal


  • December 31, 2019 10:12 AM | Deleted user

    Marquette University Law School released a new poll yesterday. The new numbers illustrate trends in Wisconsin voters’ opinions on the impeachment proceedings, thoughts on the Democratic presidential primary candidates, and approval of state elected officials. 

    The impeachment of President Donald Trump continues to be unpopular among Wisconsin voters. Fifty-two percent of respondents said the president should not be impeached. This is consistent with the November 20 Marquette University Law School Poll numbers. Despite weeks of impeachment proceedings, it seems Washington Democrats have not been able to move the needle on public opinion. Once again, however, fifty-two percent of respondents also said they do believe Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rivals, and forty-four percent believe he did something “seriously wrong” while only thirty-seven percent believe he did “nothing wrong.” 

    The poll does indicate some positive trends for Democratic primary candidates. In November, Trump lead the top four potential Democratic contenders in the 2020 election by three points or more. Yesterday’s poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden leads Trump by one point, and Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg trail Trump by two points or less. 

    The Democratic field also seems to be tightening in Wisconsin. In November, Biden lead Sanders by thirteen points, Warren by fifteen, and Buttigieg by seventeen points in the race for the Democratic nomination. Yesterday’s poll shows Biden now leads Sanders by four points, Warren by seven points, and Buttigieg by eight points. 

    The new poll numbers also indicate Governor Tony Evers’ job approval rating is back at the fifty percent mark after dipping below that number last month for the first time. 

    Other data includes:

    President Donald Trump Approval Rating:

    ·         Approve: 47%

    ·         Disapprove: 50%

    Democrat Senator Tammy Baldwin Favorability Rating:

    ·         Favorable: 42%

    ·         Unfavorable: 39%

    Republican Senator Ron Johnson Favorability Rating:

    ·         Favorable: 36%

    ·         Unfavorable: 34%

    The economy has:

    ·         Gotten Better: 44%

    ·         Gotten Worse: 21%

    ·         Stayed the Same: 37%

    In 2020, the economy will:

    ·         Improve: 32%

    ·         Worsen: 25%

    ·         Stay the same: 37%

    The poll, conducted among 80 registered Wisconsin voters, has a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.


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