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Member Update September 11, 2020

Posted By Leslie Roseboro, Tuesday, October 6, 2020
September 11, 2020

Advocacy & Policy  |  Strategic Thinking 
   News & Notes   |   Fall Conference


Regular Weekly Call with NC DHHS Leadership Addresses Key Issues
During this week's regular call with leadership at NC DHHS, we covered several key topics:

  • Voting. Legal action concerning the prohibition against SNF staff assisting residents with voting matters has been filed by a statewide organization; a decision could come as soon as early next week. We’ll continue to monitor the case and the implications of any decision.
  • Visitation. The department is beginning the process of developing guidance around indoor visitation, so that when that becomes a possibility, we’re not starting from ground zero.
  • False Positives. We discussed false positive tests some of our member communities are experiencing. CMS has developed an algorithm that provides information about interpreting antigen test results.
  • Self-insured plans and Omnicare testing. The department is working with a special team at Omnicare to try and resolve this issue. We anticipate a report back from the department early next week.

Governor Signs COVID-19 Relief Legislation with Significant Nonprofit Funding
Last Friday, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law the Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0 (H.B. 1105), which appropriates the final $900 million of North Carolina’s COVID-19 relief funding from the federal CARES Act. More than $145 million of this funding was allocated to a wide range of nonprofits, including food banks, arts organizations, YMCAs, free and charitable clinics, nonprofit residential facilities, domestic violence agencies, and sexual assault centers.
Key provisions include:

  • $23 million for “COVID-19 related supplies and equipment necessary for life safety, health, and sanitation, such as ventilators, touch-free thermometers, gowns, disinfectant, sanitizing wipes,and personal protective equipment, such as surgical and respiratory masks and gloves.
  • $29 million for COVID-19 tests, with 50% of that reserved for rapid tests, with specific amounts set aside for testing visitors.
  • $45.5 million in new funding for the Job Retention Grant Program, which provides grants of up to $250,000 to nonprofits and businesses that suffered economic loss during the pandemic and did not receive loans through the Paycheck Protection Program or Main Street Lending Program.
  • Increasing the amount of unemployment insurance benefits for North Carolinians by $50 per week for the remainder of 2020. This will temporarily increase the maximum benefit amount to $400 per week.
  • Providing state matching funds for the new temporary federal program providing for $400 per week in supplemental UI benefits for workers who have been laid off or furloughed because of COVID-19; without these matching funds, these workers only would have received $300 per week in supplemental benefits.
  • Extending state agencies’ authority to provide regulatory flexibility – such as extension of statutory filing deadlines – through the end of the Governor’s emergency declaration for the pandemic. Originally, the General Assembly had only allowed agencies this flexibility through August 1, 2020.
  • Creating a new “Extra Credit Grant Program” that provides for $335 grants for North Carolina families with children aged 17 and younger. Because the grants will be determined based on state tax filings, low-income families that did not have enough income to have to file state income tax forms in 2019 will need to apply for the grants by October 15, 2020.

CMS Testing Webinar Summary
Here is an article on the CMS Testing Webinar that was held earlier this week. Among the most important takeaways – HHS will be allocating 750,000 Abbott Binaxnow tests (the cards) to nursing homes. They will start with nursing homes in “red” or high areas of positivity. LeadingAge national is aware that the feds are developing a detailed distribution plan for the 150 million Binaxnow tests they have to distribute; it sounds like assisted living providers may be on the list as well.

U.S. Senate Unable to Pass Scaled-Down COVID-19 Relief Legislation
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted down a new scaled-down COVID-19 relief bill. The Senate voted on the bill mostly along party lines, so the bill didn’t receive the 60 votes necessary to pass. Even though the Senate didn’t pass this proposal, it signals the next step in the negotiations between the two major political parties over the next iteration of COVID-19 relief. Notable provisions in the bill include:

  • Universal Charitable Deduction. The bill would have increased the universal deduction in the CARES Act from $300 per tax taxpayer to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for married couples filing jointly. It would not have extended the temporary charitable giving incentive beyond its current expiration date of December 31, 2020. To help prevent tax fraud, the bill also would have doubled the penalty for non-itemizers who overstated the amount of their donations. This provision is an encouraging sign for nonprofits, since neither the previous Senate relief bill (the HEALS Act) nor the HEROES Act that passed the House in May would have improved upon the universal charitable deduction from the CARES Act. Nonprofits continue to advocate for Congress to expand this provision to allow all taxpayers to deduct their charitable contributions up to one-third of the standard deduction (more than $4,000 for individuals, and more than $8,000 for married couple filing jointly).
  • Paycheck Protection Program. The bill would have created a second round of PPP loans, limited to employers with 300 or fewer employees that experienced a 35% decline in “gross receipts” in any quarter of 2020. The calculation of “gross receipts” would have been problematic for many nonprofits, since it would have excluded federal grants and many foundation grants. The bill also would have simplified the PPP loan forgiveness process for borrowers (including many nonprofits) receiving loans of $150,000 or less.
  • Unemployment Compensation. The bill would have provided for $300 per week in supplemental unemployment insurance benefits for workers who have been laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19. This is only half of the $600 weekly benefits provided through July 31 in the CARES Act. Unlike the HEALS Act, the latest Senate proposal does not increase the federal reimbursement for self-insured nonprofits. Regardless of what Congress does, North Carolina is holding self-insured nonprofits harmless for the cost of their COVID-19 related UI claims.
  • No State and Local Government Funding. The bill included no additional support for state and local governments. Its only support for state and local governments – the extension of the deadline to use CARES Act money through September 30, 2021 – would not have mattered in North Carolina since the General Assembly just approved the appropriations of the remainder of the state’s CARES Act funding.
  • Liability Relief. Many nonprofits have expressed concern about the possibility of legal liability if someone who has been in their facilities contracts COVID-19 and sues the nonprofit. This is a particular concern since many insurance providers are excluding COVID-19 claims from coverage. Like the HEALS Act, the latest Senate bill would have limited liability for nonprofits and businesses for personal injuries arising from alleged COVID-19 exposure at their facilities. This provision would have complemented a new North Carolina law that provides limited immunity for nonprofits, businesses, and individuals (including nonprofit volunteers and board members) from claims of transmission of COVID-19.

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The VCs Betting on Aging Consumers
Bloomberg Businessweek, August 3, 2020
This article examines the tremendous market focused on products and services for an aging population and the venture capital firms new look in light of the pandemic.

How to Promote Racial Equity in the Workplace: A Five-Step Plan
Harvard Business Review, September-October 2020
Intractable as it seems, the problem of racism in the workplace can be effectively addressed with the right information, incentives, and investment. Leaders may not be able to change the world, but they can certainly change their world.

 The Last Geriatrician
AARP The Magazine, August/September 2020
Donnie Batie, M.D., is one of Louisiana’s few doctors who specializes in treating older patients. He somehow balances a backbreaking workload with skill, faith, and grace.

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NC NHA License Renewal
The NC State Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators have mailed out Renewal notices. If your NHA license renews 9-30-2020 please visit our website www.ncbenha.org. Scrolling across the middle of the page you will find a place to click and download the renewal form.

Monday’s Online National Coronavirus Policy Update
Nationally, some LeadingAge members are beginning to share fears that they will not have the financing to stay open -- some have even begun closing. On Monday, September 14, Sean Beloud of St. Johns Retirement Village in California, will join the LeadingAge national Online Policy Update at 3:30 pm to talk through his community’s difficult decision to close its five-star nursing home in order to preserve its assisted living program. Register here to join the call.

Absentee Ballot Requests Now Available Online
Last week, the NC State Board of Elections opened its online portal for requesting absentee ballots online. The online application process only takes about three minutes to complete. Voters who request an absentee ballot will receive one by mail and can still choose to vote in person during the Early Voting period or on Election Day instead of submitting their absentee ballot. The online portal for absentee voting also allows voters to check on the status of their absentee ballots.

New Wellness Tips for Staff
Do your member leaders need some practical tips on how to support their staff's well-being during this crisis? Check out a one-pager that was just posted by LeadingAge national for ideas you can implement today.

Act Now: Be Certain Everyone You Know Completes the Census Questionnaire
With so many North Carolina households still uncounted in the Census, it is to get a complete and accurate count in the next three weeks. The call to action for staff, volunteers, and board members is simple: Make sure that everyone with whom your community engages completes the Census questionnaire. To help with last-minute get-out-the count efforts, the NC Counts Coalition has a new toolkit with sample messaging, social media posts and graphics, and outreach ideas. For households that have not yet completed the Census questionnaire, there is still time to respond online, by mail, by phone, or through an in-person visit from a Census Bureau representative.

Scenario Planning Toolbox
This new Spotlight in the LeadingAge Knowledge Center explores the future need for and delivery of aging services in the context of expectable, challenging and visionary futures. The Scenario Planning Toolbox includes a detailed video presentation describing the four scenarios that will impact aging services. It also includes a downloadable discussion guide to get your board and senior leadership team talking about how these scenarios will impact your plans for the future, as well as supplemental resources to help you hold your own scenario workshop. The Toolbox is free to members!


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Fall Conference

 


We are looking forward to seeing you virtually at our 2020 Fall Conference. Be sure to register today. We are partnering with LeadingAge national to host our conference on a platform that will provide an optimal experience for attendees and sponsors. Sessions will focus on leadership, workforce, spiritual and physical well-being, clinical support and adult day services.

This is no ordinary webinar or Zoom meeting...here is why you should attend:

  • Need CEUS for your Nursing Home Administrator License? Up to 5.0 hours of in-person continuing education credits are available.
  • CEUs available for human resources and finance.
  • Learn from forward thinking and nationally recognized industry experts and thought leaders on a variety of topics related to the field of aging.
  • Connect with senior living professionals in networking and sponsor areas via text and video chat.
  • Learn about products, services, and resources provided by business member sponsors who are experts in their respective fields
  • Depart with takeaways that can be implemented by you and your community.
  • Convenience and flexibility from the comfort of your own office, home or location of your choice.
  • Extreme value – No travel expense and lowered registration fee.

Click here to download the conference brochure.

We encourage you to join us on Thursday, September 24 at the LeadingAge North Carolina Fall Virtual Conference – Click here for more information.


LeadingAge North Carolina
222 N. Person Street Suite 205 | Raleigh, NC  27601
Ph. 919.571.8333 | Fax 919.869.1811 | www.LeadingAgeNC.org

 

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9/25/2020 » 12/27/2020
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