ARF, COVID-19, RCFE

Governor Newsom Outlines Steps to Protect Residents and Employees of California Nursing Home & Residential Care Facilities

Governor Gavin Newsom has outlined steps California is taking to protect the residents and employees of the more than 1,224 skilled nursing facilities and 7,461 residential care facilities across the state. Building on the state’s early action to protect these facilities, California has trained and is deploying 600 nurses to support compliance with COVID-19 guidance, and state staff is calling nursing homes across the state daily to provide support.

“Protecting California’s most vulnerable residents and the employees is a top priority – not only to protect public health but because it’s the right thing to do,” said Governor Newsom. “Older Californians and those who are medically fragile are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19, which is why we took early action to restrict visitors to these facilities. Now we are providing even more support for these facilities, their residents, and staff who serve them.”

Recognizing the threat to these medically fragile individuals, the state last month restricted visitors to these facilities except for end-of-life and other rare circumstances. Before COVID-19 had spread widely in the community in California, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Social Services issued guidance and offered trainings on infection control. And the Departments jointly deployed strike teams of infection control specialists to counties, nursing homes and residential care facilities for the elderly to provide one-on-one technical support and expertise.

The Governor also announced that the USNS Mercy will be taking non-COVID-19 patients to help decompress skilled nursing facilities in the Los Angeles area.

To further protect vulnerable Californians, California is:

  • Retraining 600 nurses to support facility compliance with COVID-19 guidance and to assist facilities with positive cases;
  • Working to decompress facilities to help slow the potential spread of COVID-19 in these facilities and create facilities specifically for positive patients;
  • Reaching out proactively to each skilled nursing facility on a daily basis to assess their specific needs and identify and address any challenges early on;
  • Prioritizing testing for patients discharged from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility to ensure patients who test positive are transferred to a facility that can safely provide care to the residents and also protect COVID-19 negative residents. California will also prioritize the testing of symptomatic residents and potentially exposed residents to ensure they are immediately isolated;
  • Prioritizing personal protective equipment to facilities with COVID-19 positive staff or residents and facilities that are at increased risk to COVID-19;
  • Providing stipends to certified nurse assistants, licensed vocational nurses and other critical staff at nursing homes to make sure their needs are met. A previously announced Facebook donation of up to $25 million available to provide $500 stipends to up to 50,000 nursing home workers;
  • Offering no-cost or low-cost hotel rooms for workers who have had possible exposure to COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 and do not need to be hospitalized; and
  • Ensuring that families of nursing home residents are informed and educated on COVID-19 safety protections for their loved ones.

Learn more about the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here. Visit covid19.ca.gov for critical steps Californians can take to stay healthy, and resources available to those impacted by the outbreak.

All Posts, ARF, COVID-19, RCFE

Food and Supply Shortage During COVID-19 Crisis: 6Beds Working with Community Care Licensing and Governor’s Office on a Solution

Dear Providers,

I want you to know that 6Beds is aware of the challenges being faced by providers as it relates to shortages of food and supplies as we deal with COVID-19.  We know that local grocery stores and other retailers are subjecting residential care facility owners/operators to the same quotas as individual households.

6Beds has been in direct contact with the highest levels of Community Care Licensing (CCL) to report to them the on-the-ground challenges that facilities are facing with regard to the shortage of food and supplies.  In turn, CCL is in direct contact with the Governor’s Office in regards to a potential solution.

We will notify you as soon as any solution is announced.  In preparation for a potential solution specific to residential care facilities, please make a copy of each of your facility licenses or take a picture with your smartphone of each of your facility licenses that you can show grocers and other retailers.

Thank you.

Best Regards,

George Kutnerian

ARF, Events, RCFE

Free RCFE/ARF Labor Training Coming to San Diego

Due to popular demand, 6Beds will be holding an additional FREE Training Workshop in San Diego on Friday, November 15.  Seating is limited.  RSVP today to reserve your spot in this FREE training opportunity.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2019 | 8:30 AM – 5 PM
FREE ADMISSION

8:30 AM – 5 PM
3 Civic Center Drive
San Marcos,CA  92069

>> REGISTER ONLINE TODAY

 

ARF, Events, RCFE

Mark Your Calendars: 2019 ARF & RCFE Annual Conference & Gala

The 2019 ARF & RCFE Annual Conference & Gala Awards Banquet will be August 30-31 in Southern California.  Admission is FREE to attend the day-long conference and Gala Award are $70/per person.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2019 | 7:30 AM – 5 PM
FREE ADMISSION

Brea Community Center
695 East Madison Way
Brea, CA

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31, 2019 | 5:30 – 12 AM
GALA BANQUET TICKET $70/PERSON

Sheraton Cerritos
12725 Center Court Drive
Cerritos, CA 90703

>> REGISTER ONLINE TODAY

 

Advocacy, All Posts, RCFE

Governor’s Budget Proposes Adding 2,000 Slots to the Assisted Living Waiver Program – 6Beds Advocacy Efforts Paying Off

by George Kutnerian
As many of you may be aware, the Assisted Living Waiver (ALW) program reached its capacity of 3,700 slots in March of 2017 and has since been operating with a waitlist that is now fast approaching 3,000 individuals.

Governor’s Budget Proposes Adding 2,000 Slots to Assisted Living Waiver Program -- 6Beds Advocacy Efforts Paying Off

6Beds has been advocating for an expansion to the ALW program since last year’s Advocacy Day in spring of 2017.

Since then, in its efforts to expand and improve the ALW, 6Beds has joined a broad coalition that includes LeadingAge CA, California Assisted Living Association, Alzheimer’s Association, The SCAN Foundation, California Hospital Association, the California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Association, and Justice in Aging.

This broad coalition had been advocating to the Department of Health Care Services and the Department of Finance for an expansion of the ALW.  The Governor’s proposal to add 2,000 slots to the ALW is a significant first step towards expanding the ALW.  We will keep you posted on how the proposal to add 2,000 slots to the ALW progresses through the budget process.  Even if approved, the addition of the 2,000 slots would not be operational until at least this summer as the Department of Health Care Services will be required to apply for a waiver amendment with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Stay tuned for updates.

Advocating for expanding and improving the ALW is a part of 6Beds’ 2018 Advocacy Day agenda.

Please join us for Advocacy Day in Sacramento on April 11, 2018 at the California Chamber of Commerce, beginning at 8AM.

Click here to learn more.

Best,

George K. Kutnerian
Senior Vice President
Public Policy & Legislation

Advocacy, All Posts, ARF, RCFE

CCL To Make Significant Changes to Inspection Process – 6Beds Calling for Greater Consistency and Transparency

by George Kutnerian
Community Care Licensing (CCL) has announced that it intends to make significant changes to the inspection process in an effort to improve the effectiveness and quality of that process.  6Beds has been invited by CCL to provide feedback on how its new inspection process vision gets implemented in the field.  6Beds is stressing that the new inspection process be more consistent and transparent.

6Beds attended a first meeting with CCL in December, 2017 and will be attending a second meeting with CCL in March, 2018 to further discuss the rollout of the inspection process.  CCL anticipates piloting the new inspection process this spring and 6Beds will provide updates as more information becomes available.

Best Regards,
George K. Kutnerian
Senior Vice President
Public Policy & Legislation
6Beds, Inc.

Advocacy, All Posts, ARF, Issues, RCFE

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: DSS ANNOUNCED 2017 SSI/SSP NON-MEDICAL OUT-OF-HOME CARE (NMOHC) PAYMENT STANDARD

by George Kutnerian
The SSI/SSP non-medical out-of-home care (NMOHC) payment that SSI/SSP recipients who live in residential care facilities receive, has increased to $1,158.37 as follows:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) $   735.00
State Supplementary Payment (SSP) $   423.37
$1,158.37

Of the $1,158.37, the SSI/SSP recipient is entitled to a personal and incidental needs allowance of $132.  This leaves $1,026.37 as the amount payable to the facility for basic services.

Please note that recipients who have income in addition to their SSI/SSP check (for example, a pension, Social Security Retirement, or disability benefits) can be charged the $1,026.37 amount for basic services plus an additional $20.  Because federal rules do not count the first $20 of a recipient’s income against his or her SSI/SSP grant, an SSI/SSP recipient with other income has an extra $20 that people who receive only an SSI/SSP check do not have.  Neither federal nor state law restricts the recipient in how this additional $20 amount is spent.  Therefore, if the recipient agrees in the admission agreement to pay the additional $20 for basic services, the facility may charge the additional amount resulting in a total monthly basic services charge of $1,046.37.

DSS’ Provider Information Notice regarding this topic can be found here (click to download).

Sincerely,

George K. Kutnerian
Senior Vice President of Public Policy & Legislation

Advocacy, All Posts, ARF, RCFE

CCL Announces the Launch of Provider Information Notices (PINs)

by George Kutnerian
On October 21, 2016, Community Care Licensing (CCL) announced the launch of Provider Information Notices (PINs), which it will use moving forward to formally communicate to CCL-licensed facilities.

On the homepage for CCL, you will find the link to the Provider Information Notices (PIN) at the top of “Featured Information.”  These notices will also be available by selecting the “Tools/Resources” tab and then “Information Releases.”

PIN 16-01-CCLD is for all Community Care Licensed Providers and it provides an overview of the PIN process.  PIN 16-01-ASC is specifically for Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) and it releases an updated Medication Guide for RCFEs to use as a resource. PIN 16-02-ASC addresses the protection of residents in RCFEs during flu season.

If you are a licensee and CCL has a contact email for you, you may have already received an email notifying you of the launch of PINs.  However, to ensure that everyone has current information, we will announce individual PINs as we are made aware of them by CCL.

Best Regards,
George Kutnerian
Senior Vice President – Public Policy & Legislation

Advocacy, All Posts, ARF, Issues, RCFE

Assisted Living Waiver Program – DHCS Announces Increased Provider Rates Effective 2017

by George Kutnerian
In a previous post, we let our readers know that California’s new budget would provide for an increase in funding for the Home and Community Based Services waiver programs, which includes the Assisted Living Waiver Program. At that time, the specific rates to take effect on January 1, 2017 had not yet been announced.

DHCS recently announced the specific provider rates that are to take effect on January 1, 2017.  The new provider rates are as follows:

 

Effective 2017                      Current

Tier 1         $55/day              $52/day

Tier 2         $66/day              $62/day

Tier 3         $75/day              $71/day

Tier 4         $87/day              $82/day

 

This marks the first rate increase the Assisted Living Waiver Program has received since its inception as a pilot program in 2006 when it began serving Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Joaquin counties.

The primary goal of the Assisted Living Waiver Program is to enable low-income, Medi-Cal eligible seniors and persons with disabilities, who would otherwise require nursing facility services, to remain in or relocate to the community.  The program was approved by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare and is currently in the midst of its second five-year waiver that will run into 2019.  The Assisted Living Waiver Program currently operates in 14 counties throughout the State.

6-bed RCFEs play an important role in the Assisted Living Waiver Program.  The Assisted Living Waiver Program provider rate increase is yet another signal of the effectiveness of 6Beds’ advocacy in Sacramento, where 6Beds has persistently been advocating for provider rate increases for programs that impact 6-bed facilities as well as new funding sources for 6-bed facilities to cope with the rising costs of doing business in California.

Best Regards,

George Kutnerian, M.S., MBA
Senior Vice President – Public Policy & Legislation

Advocacy, All Posts, ARF, Issues, RCFE

First Increase in a Decade to State SSP Portion of the SSI/SSP Grant

by George Kutnerian
Effective January 1, 2017, the state SSP portion of the SSI/SSP grant will receive a cost-of-living increase equivalent to the increase in the California Necessities Index, which is 2.76 percent.  This increase would mark the first State SSP increase in more than a decade.

California, home to almost 20% of the nation’s SSI population, has long relied on 6-bed residential care facilities to provide housing and care for SSI/SSP recipients, among which are primarily the elderly and adults with disabilities, including those with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses.

The disparity between the capped SSI/SSP rate and the median market rate has grown to become a gaping chasm over the years, with the SSI/SSP board and care rate failing to keep up with the rapidly rising housing and operating costs that California’s small 6-bed residential care facilities face.

The 2.76% increase to the State SSP portion of the SSI/SSP grant, the first such increase in more than a decade, has been long overdue and is a step, albeit a very modest one, in the right direction.  6Beds recognizes that much more will have to be done to sustain the small 6-bed residential care facilities that care for SSI/SSP recipients and will continue to advocate on their behalf.

Best Regards,

George Kutnerian, M.S., MBA
Senior Vice President of Public Policy & Legislation