Client Alerts

COVID-19 and the Long-Term Care Setting

By: David E. Schweighoefer, Daniel A. Gottesman, William D. Edwards and Jonathan R. King

About: Long-Term Care

While our nation and the world are experiencing a health crisis of unprecedented proportions, the attorneys at Ulmer want to provide you with current information as it relates to long-term care facilities, your patients, staff, and families.

Precisely because there is so much information about different aspects of successfully managing this virus in health care settings, and because this information is changing as federal, state, and local governments waive, interpret, and adopt rules and recommendations, we will not attempt to explain every aspect in this alert. We will instead offer a summary of some of the most important aspects and will include various links to other resources. We recommend you review these resources as quickly as possible. We also recognize that others in the health care industry, particularly physicians, researchers, and public health departments are adding to your fund of information on a daily basis, and we will issue additional alerts as this information becomes available.

On March 17, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) presented a webinar that was an update and provided information for long-term care facilities. This webinar presented an overview of the COVID-19 clinical presentation and course, mortality and risk factors, special consideration for long-term care facilities, and management and treatment options. To view the slides presented during this webinar, click here.

TELEMEDICINE

The Office of the Inspector General has as of yesterday issued new guidance on cost-sharing waivers and enforcement of existing regulations. For more information, click here.

Under the newly implemented waiver, Medicare can pay for office, hospital, and other costs furnished via telehealth across the country and including patients’ places of residence. For more information about waiving telehealth cost-sharing during the COVID-19 outbreak, click here. To view a telehealth factsheet summary, click here.

OSHA

We recognize you are concerned about the health and safety of the residents under your care, and to that end we also recognize the importance of caring for the health and safety of those caregivers who are your employees and their families.

On March 9, OSHA issued its “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.” In the guidance, OSHA divides job tasks into exposure levels of “very high, high, medium and lower risk” and then recommends steps employers should consider taking to protect workers in each risk category. For more information, click here.

FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT

Congress is currently considering the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” which provides for, among other things, emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and paid sick leave in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The first version of the bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 14, 2020 included significant changes to FMLA and provided for paid sick leave. The House later amended the bill to scale back those provisions and sent it to the U.S. Senate on March 17, 2020.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that the Senate will pass the amended version of the bill in the near future.

Ulmer’s attorneys are closely monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 outbreak, and will continue to provide additional client alerts as new information becomes available. We will also host a webinar regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and other employment, labor, and tax considerations related to COVID-19 as soon as the president signs the bill into law.