Compensation, money

Nursing homes could be forced to spend an additional $10,000 per day on equipment in order to meet the latest federal requirements during the COVID-19 response, according to experts. 

“No one is saying ‘no’ they’re not getting the equipment,” Josh Silverberg, co-founder of the Society for Healthcare Organizations Procurement Professionals (SHOPP), told McKnight’s. “But what I am hearing is that credit cards are getting almost maxed out, cash flow is almost gone.” 

The findings stem from a cost analysis study conducted by SHOPP and People Powered Nursing. Experts with the groups state that it’s “unclear if nursing homes will be allowed to recoup monies associated with the cost” of personal protective equipment under the recent federal guidance. 

They’re also now calling for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to allow providers to be reimbursed for additional costs as they respond to the outbreak. 

“That’s why we’re just trying to advocate for it and really raise awareness because right now it’s not being focused on as much. We’re hoping and we think it’s a fair request,” Ari Stawis, director of professional services and development for Zimmet Healthcare, told McKnight’s

Stawis explained that since the pandemic providers have seen PPE costs skyrocket and a reimbursement plan could help alleviate the financial burden they’re facing. 

The groups have been encouraging providers to track how much you’re spending specifically toward COVID-19, compared to what their usual expenses are. That way if CMS does allow for reimbursement, they’ll be ready, he noted. 

“Every PPE item that a facility used to spend, let’s say, between $20,000 and $30,000 per year on, in the last month have spent over $100,000,” Stawis said. 

“[Nursing homes] will do whatever it takes for the care of the residents, for the care of the staff, but at a certain point funds are just going to run out,” he added. 

In other coronavirus-related news: 

• An investigation by Politico suggests that the current state of facilities could be the result of testing failures by public health officials. The report also explained lack of preparedness and PPE shortages have added to the “unfolding tragedy in American nursing homes.” 

• A national civil rights group and about 400 medical professionals have called on the Department of Health and Human Services to release daily racial and ethnic demographic data related to COVID-19 testing, cases and patient outcomes. This comes as reports note that black people are being disproportionately impacted by the disease. 

• There is no clear answer as to whether state surveyors will penalize providers using cloth face masks, but the educated guess is that well-intended, well-documented actions will not be penalized, said one official Monday during a LeadingAge daily COVID-19 update call.

“That’s a concern we hear a lot,” said Jodi Eyigor, Director of Nursing Home Quality and Policy for LeadingAge. “I can’t tell you how surveyors are going to survey. Just make sure any decision you’re making, you’re backing them up with real facts. Use the CDC’s burn rate calculator to show this is how much we’re using, and this is how many we think we’ll need, and this is how many we expect to receive. Be able to back up any decision you’ve made. That will go a long way.”

• In brighter news, a South Carolina skilled nursing facility held a “spread out” prayer service Sunday to help residents, families and staff members cope with the ongoing pandemic. In Texas, acclaimed rapper Megan Thee Stallion announced a partnership with Amazon to donate supplies, money and tablets to residents and staff members at a Houston SNF.