Update: DOH Looks to Relaunch Cost Report Rollout

Today, HCP, along with other provider associations, met again with the Department of Health (DOH/the Department) staff to discuss the status of the home care cost report. Prior to COVID-19 the Department, along with accounting firm KPMG, was in the process of engaging with providers in educational forums across the state to educate them on the new home care cost report. 

This process was suspended shortly after the onset of COVID-19. 

DOH and KPMG continued to share its preliminary plan to relaunch its cost report rollout. While it continues to finalize the plan, the Department expects to reinitiate provider education later this month.  In addition, it expects to allow providers several additional weeks to complete the cost report, which would now be expected to be submitted mid-fall. DOH plans to send providers a Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) outlining the timeline and rollout events in the coming days.   

HCP continued to urge the Department to reconvene the original Cost Report Work Group as part of its strategy to reinitiate the cost report roll-out.

In addition, HCP urged DOH to provide any FAQs that have been accumulated from the sessions that had been held pre-COVID. It should also ensure that the communication from DOH/KPMG is clear and recognizable as there was confusion about the legitimacy of some communications. The DAL to be issued should include the email address of the account from which official notifications will be sent. It should also consider a strategy of harmonizing the LHCSA Statistical Report due in November and the 2019 Cost Report due in the fall to be more efficient and better use the resources of providers.  

HCP will continue to report on further developments.  

HCP and 1199 SEIU Send Joint Letter to Cuomo Administration Urging Support for Provider Expenses Related to COVID

Today, HCP and 1199 SEIU jointly sent a letter to the Cuomo Administration to urge support for provider PPE expenses.  In the letter it was highlighted that LHCSAs and Fiscal Intermediaries (FIs) in CDPAP provide personal and home health care to vulnerable, nursing home eligible persons, keeping the most vulnerable safely at home and away from the risks of Covid-19.  It was noted that the vast majority of these long term supports and services are paid for by Medicaid through Medicaid managed long term care plans (MLTCPs).  

Moreover, providers have faced increased costs during the pandemic. The most significant additional expense has been the cost of PPE, which will likely be over 1000% higher than it was in 2019.   

LHCSAs and FIs continue to do their part to ensure both worker and patient safety and comply with all of the State directives to combat this crisis.  These additional, unreimbursed costs, however, are unmanageable and annualized are financially unsustainable.  

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a percentage of home care clients have chosen to refuse service due to increased concerns about exposure to the coronavirus with workers coming in and out of the home as well as increasing availability of family caregivers due to higher unemployment. However, MLTC plans continue to receive their per member per month premium for each enrollee. Using 2018 cost report data (the most recent available), we estimate that a 12% reduction in service hours generates approximately $52 million per month in revenue retained by the plans.

The letter concluded that in order to support MLTC members, HCP and 1199 SEIU urge DOH to require a redistribution of the underspending to MLTC’s LHCSA and FI providers to support the acquisition of PPE for workers as well as other new pandemic-related costs like overtime, sick pay and premium pay for workers caring for coronavirus patients.  MLTCs could pass through the funding as rate adjustments, lump sum payments, or other calculations—the simpler and faster the better.

HCP will continue to find opportunities to ensure providers have the resources they need to meet the demands of the COVID crisis.  

LHCSA Data Validation

DOH shared with HCP that data validation of the LHCSA survey responses will begin this week with calls being placed to LHCSAs during the business day. 

DOH is particularly interested in confirming the number of aides employed at the end of January as well as the total number of home care aide hours in January. This number compared with reported numbers of aides and hours in April and May will provide a sense of the loss of hours and workers. Once reported, the numbers from January should have remained constant, but did not.  DOH will contact providers to review reported data. This is an effort to confirm that agencies understand how to report.  

CHHA and Hospice Surveys to Include Additional Questions

The Daily COVID-19 CHHA and Hospice Survey is used to capture data necessary to inform the Department of Health for policy decisions and allocation of PPE. The daily survey is due by 1:00 p.m. every day, seven days per week.  

Beginning in the near future, CHHAs and Hospices will notice additional questions have been added to the surveys. These questions enable the Department to make more precise assessments of PPE and to address the needs when supplies need to be sourced.

In addition to expanded questions for PPE, the survey asks for the name of the individual responsible for the data and a contact person who can be reached after hours. DOH reminds providers to please update your 24/7 contacts in the Health Commerce System, if that has not yet been done.  

Inquiries related to COVID-19 and the HERDS Surveys may be referred to the following program-specific email address:  hcstatrpts@health.ny.gov 

Governor Cuomo Announces Phase One Reopening for Three Upstate Regions

Today, Governor Cuomo announced that as of today, the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions have met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state's regional phased reopening plan when NYS on PAUSE orders expire on May 15th. If the trend continues, starting on May 15th, these three regions can begin opening businesses for phase one, which includes construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail for curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup; and agriculture, forestry and fishing. The North Country and Central NY regions have met 6 of the 7 metrics and could be ready at the end of the week. A guide to the state's "NY Forward Reopening" Plan is available here. The Governor also launched the state's regional monitoring dashboard, which is available here
  
The Governor also announced that certain low-risk business and recreational activities will be ready to reopen statewide on May 15th, including landscaping and gardening; outdoor, low-risk recreational activities such as tennis; and drive-in movie theaters. 

Upcoming HCP Webinar: Re-opening Your Business After Being on Pause

Tuesday, May 12, 3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Learning how to mitigate the challenges presented by COVID-19 is ever constant. Every single day people, families and businesses are readjusting based on new information. Many businesses have completely shut down operations, or, had to modify work practices such as working from home. Eventually, every one of us must begin to pick up the pieces and try to find our way back to some type of normalcy. The one thing we do know is the manner in which business is conducted will be changed forever. But how do you re-open your business? Where do you start?

This session will address issues organizational leadership must begin thinking about in this pandemic time. Included will be discussion on:

▪ Regulatory compliance 
▪ Environment Control 
▪ Documentation 
▪ Employee monitoring, and much more.

This is a free program is customized for NYS Licensed Home Care Providers. Please register here.

Recording Available: DOH Webinar Regarding Medicaid Telehealth Guidance 

On Tuesday, May 5, 2020 the Department of Health Office of Health Insurance Programs hosted a webinar to review Comprehensive Guidance Regarding Use of Telehealth including Telephonic Services During the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

The webinar was intended to provide an overview of the guidance and cover frequently asked questions. A recording of the webinar is now available on the Department’s website. 

The PowerPoint slides from the webinar are available here

The recording of the program can be accessed here.  

REMINDER: Weekly Provider COVID Update

Please join the NYS Department of Health on Thursday May 14th at 1-2PM for its  
COVID-19 update for healthcare providers.

To accommodate the large number of participants, the update webinar will be streaming via YouTube Live (and available for viewing immediately thereafter) on the NYSDOH COVID website for providers:

https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/weekly-healthcare-provider-update 

 For audio only, please dial in: 844-512-2950