DOH Issues - National Cyber Awareness System (NCAS) Activity Alert - APT Groups Target Healthcare and Essential Services

DOH today asked that HCP warn members to the fact that a joint alert from the United States Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre was released today containing information on continued exploitation by advanced persistent threat (APT) groups of the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic.

The alert includes information describing the methods these actors are using to target organizations and provides mitigation advice. The organizations currently being targeted are involved in both national and international COVID-19 responses, and include healthcare, pharmaceutical, academia, medical research, and local government organizations.

For more detailed information, please reference the link below:
https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/AA20126A

New York City Council Holds Hearing on Essential Workers Bill of Rights

Today, HCP testified on behalf of HCP and the home care industry at the New York City Council virtual remote hearing on a package of legislation called the Essential Workers Bill of Rights which would provide expansive new benefits to essential workers including premium pay.

HCP President and CEO, Kathy Febraio testified along with well over one hundred other witnesses in the hours long virtual hearing.

In HCP’s testimony, Febraio made clear that the home care industry values its workers and strives to keep them safely employed. Our work together with our incredible workforce focuses on keeping patients safe in their homes and communities. This is especially important now when the elderly and vulnerable populations are particularly unsafe in congregate care settings. Home care is there.
The testimony highlighted that while the goals of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights are laudable, at this moment in history, these proposed mandates would likely cripple the already fragile home care industry. To be emphatically clear, HCP and its provider members proudly stand with our heroic workers and their families. We are fighting on their behalf day by day and hour by hour to ensure these brave and dedicated frontline workers have the critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and recognition they deserve and sorely need.

The testimony explained that HCP is gravely concerned by the “Essential Workers’ Bill of Rights”. This series of bills would provide expansive new benefits to essential workers. During these very uncertain times the home care industry is encountering several financial and operational challenges, not the least of which have arisen from policies newly enacted in the State budget. Moreover, as providers face mounting expenditures to obtain personal protective equipment in the open market, they are encountering prices that have increased tenfold or more.

HCP strongly urged the New York City Council to withdraw this legislation, unless or until there is City, State, and/or Federal financial support to fund its mandates.

Anything less will cripple our already fragile industry.

Adding new and significant financial burdens to home care employers, in addition to those recently added by the state and federal government, at this time undoubtedly would be seriously detrimental and hasten our demise. Without a significant appropriation of financial assistance from the city, state or federal government it will be nearly impossible for home care providers, that are currently operating on razor thin margins, in the face of significant state budget cuts, to provide the additional benefits contemplated by this legislation.

HCP, on behalf of its provider members, respectfully opposes this legislation. In addition to providing this testimony, HCP sent a letter last month to the New York City Mayor and Council President outlining the opposition of the home care industry. HCP also urged its members providing services in New York City to take action to ensure the Mayor and City Council are aware of their opposition.

Upcoming HCP Webinar: Telehealth During the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond

Thursday, May 7, 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

In addition to the State Telehealth Webinar on May 5th HCP will hold its own Telehealth Webinar. Executive Orders and State Guidance have ensured home care providers could responsibly use telehealth to continue to provide care and services to the vulnerable patient population and meet critical NYS regulations. What are the current regulations that specify the use of telehealth in the NYS Licensed Home Care setting? How do providers currently use telehealth to promote patient safety? What are the current telehealth best practices and how does the industry prepare for upcoming changes in the delivery of home care services?

Join this program to learn how your colleagues are utilizing telehealth options now and preparing for the transformation of home care services beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

This is a free webinar. Please register for the free webinar here.

DOH Telehealth Webinar Materials

Today, from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM, 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 provided an overview of the Department’s recent Telehealth guidance and covered frequently asked questions.

The PowerPoint slides from the webinar are available here.

A recording of the program can be accessed here when it becomes available.

DOH Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) Technical Assistance Call

Today, DOH also held the next in the series of DOH EVV Technical Assistance calls.

You can find a recording of the call here when it becomes available. DOH’s next EVV Technical Assistance call will be held on May 19 at 2:00 pm.

NYS Launches Contact Tracing Program

The State has launched a new ambitious and urgent effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The aim of this initiative will be to call every person diagnosed with COVID-19, establish all contacts of this person, and proceed to call and maintain ongoing communication with every contact. In addition, the team will support the isolation and quarantine of individuals, as appropriate in cooperation with the Local Health Department. This includes virtual needs checks and referral to community resources as needed. This contact tracing initiative is in tandem with statewide-wide efforts to increase testing, improve communication and knowledge of effective strategies to reduce transmission, and implementation of isolation and quarantine. This will fortify efforts to control the pandemic in NYS.

New York State plans to hire a team of 6,400 to 17,000 staff statewide, depending on the projected number of COVID-19 cases, to support the NYS Department of Health and Local Health Departments to perform contact tracing in communities across NYS. To meet the scale and scope of this nation-leading program, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Vital Strategies: Resolve to Save Lives and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will support building the team through a three-step process: recruitment, interviewing and training.

Our first goal is to help the state identify and recruit a robust Contact Tracing team to be a part of this ambitious and urgent effort. To be considered, candidates must be a New York State resident 18 years of age or older; meet the position description requirement; go through an interview process; and complete a training and certification program.

New York State is looking to immediately fill the following roles:

  • Contact Tracers: reach out to the contacts of anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 to assess symptoms, ensure compliance with quarantine and determine social support needs.
  • Team Supervisors: lead a team of 20 Contact Tracers, and one Community Support Specialist who are working remotely using digital tools.
  • Community Support Specialists: work with the team and the local health departments to address the physical/mental health, and social/human service needs of those contacted, especially those who are under isolation or quarantine.

Follow the link below if you or someone you know in New York State is interested in applying to be a part of the Contact Tracing team.
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/get-involved-how-you-can-help

May 6 to 12 is National Nurses Week!

This week we honor nurses in all health care professions including home care. During these critical times nurses are going above and beyond to keep our communities safe and healthy.

Tell a nurse you appreciate them today!

If you are a nurse, or know a nurse, who is interested in expanding or starting a career in home care through continuing education, please consider visiting www.ednascholarship.org. The Edna A. Lauterbach Scholarship is available every Spring for New York State Registered Nurses (RNs) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who are planning to further their career in home and community-based care. Applicants for the scholarship must currently hold an RN or LPN from New York State to be eligible for consideration.