Author: Lara Stauning

-Justice in Aging: CMS Announces Medicare At-Home Test Coverage is Coming

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Here’s what we’re watching in Washington: C

MS Announces Medicare At-Home Test Coverage is Coming

On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicare will cover free at-home COVID-19 tests beginning in “early spring.” Once the coverage begins, Medicare enrollees would be eligible for up to 8 over-the-counter (OTC) tests per month with no cost sharing through eligible pharmacies and other participating entities. The coverage would apply to all people with Medicare Part B, including those enrolled in Medicare Advantage. See these Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Last month, Justice in Aging and Medicare Rights Center led a letter from more than 70 advocacy organizations urging Medicare coverage of OTC tests and other COVID Services. We look forward to working with CMS to ensure this coverage is implemented as quickly and smoothly as possible. And we will continue to advocate for the Administration to provide additional immediate COVID services and resources to people with Medicare and Medicaid, especially those in marginalized communities. 

Nursing Facility Must Provide Rapid COVID Tests if Requiring Visitors Be Tested

This week, CMS revised its Nursing Home Visitation Frequently Asked Questions guidance to strengthen visiting rights. At the end of the guidance, FAQ #16 states that a visitor can be required to take a COVID test only if the facility can provide a rapid antigen test. In other words, if a facility can’t provide a rapid antigen test, the visit must be allowed (as long as the visitor does not report COVID symptoms or meet quarantine criteria). 

In addition, FAQ #12 states that a visitor cannot be turned away based on the visitor’s COVID vaccination status, unless the visitor has COVID symptoms or meets quarantine criteria.

New Guidance for Health Care Providers on Civil Rights Protections for People with Disabilities

On Friday, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights issued new guidance to health care providers on civil rights protections for people with disabilities during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. The guidance clarifies in FAQs that when resources are scarce, individuals with disabilities must not be prevented from receiving needed health care as this violates federal civil rights laws. The FAQs remind health care providers of their obligations under federal law and provide examples of applicability, including to state Crisis Standard of Care plans, procedures, and related standards for triaging scarce resources that hospitals are required to follow. The guidance specifically states that civil rights laws prohibit entities from using long-term life expectancy as eligibility criteria.

Read the FAQs for Healthcare Providers during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Federal Civil Rights Protections for Individuals with Disabilities under Section 504 and Section 1557. J

Looking for a Way to Connect Socially? For All Ages hosts “Tea @ 3 Community”

Join our Tea @ 3 Intergenerational Friendship Community this spring!
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Our popular intergenerational friendship program will include 3 free Community-wide Zoom events and 3 small-group gatherings this spring:

Discover the Power of Your Story with Terry Wolfish Cole. Listen to Terry tell a story about her recent appearance as a Jeopardy contestant!
Journaling for resilience. Together, we’ll customize our bullet journals (free for each Community member) and learn how journaling can help us organize, simplify, and practice mindfulness.
End of session Par-Tea and Tea @ 3 bingo.

NEW this session: 3 optional small-group Zoom gatherings. Meet a few of your fellow Community members during a small-group get-together.

Join the Tea @ 3 Community, make a new friend, and feel a sense of belonging and community. Enjoy a weekly phone call with a Tea-Mate of another age who is matched with you based on interests. And if coffee – or hot cocoa – is your choice of an afternoon pick-me-up, that’s fine with us.

This Community is available to CT residents age 18+ and students attending a CT university or Amherst College.
Join our spring 2022 Tea @ 3 Community

Governor Lamont Activates Severe Cold Weather Protocol From Saturday to Sunday

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that as temperatures are expected to drop into the single digits on Saturday night, he is directing the State of Connecticut’s severe cold weather protocol to be activated beginning at noon on Saturday, February 5, 2022, and remaining in effect through noon on Sunday, February 6, 2022.

The purpose of the protocol is to ensure that the most vulnerable populations receive protection from the severe cold conditions, which could be life-threatening if exposed to the elements for extended periods of time. While enacted, a system is set up for state agencies and municipalities to coordinate with United Way 2-1-1 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to make sure that anyone in need can receive shelter from the outdoors, including transportation to shelters.

Anyone in need is urged to call 2-1-1 to get connected to these services. Safety measures have been enacted at shelters and warming centers throughout Connecticut to adhere to the needs of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“When temperatures drop this low, it can be incredibly dangerous to be outdoors for extended periods of time,” Governor Lamont said. “Shelters and warming centers are available across Connecticut. Anyone in need can call 2-1-1 to get connected to a nearby location, and they can even provide transportation if necessary.”

The following actions are implemented while the protocol is enacted:

  • The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security activates its WebEOC communications network, which is an internet-based system that enables local, regional, and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information about a variety of situations and conditions. The system is used to monitor capacity at shelters across the state, enabling 2-1-1 to act as a clearinghouse to assist in finding shelter space for those who need it. Local officials, working through WebEOC, can alert 2-1-1 and the state when they open temporary shelters or warming centers.
  • The Connecticut Department of Social Services, Connecticut Department of Housing, and Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services coordinate with 2-1-1 and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, along with community-based providers, to provide transportation for people seeking shelter.

For emergency management news and resources, visit the state’s CTPrepares website at ct.gov/ctprepares or download the CTPrepares app to mobile devices at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

-National Consumer Voice: Updated CMS and CDC Visitation Guidance

Updates from CMS and CDC:
Further Clarification of Visitation Guidance;
Addition to Definitions of Vaccination Status;
and More
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have made updates to their COVID-19 guidance.

On February 2, 2022, CMS updated their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which clarify their November 2021 revised Nursing Home Visitation Guidance.  They continue to emphasize that visitation must be permitted at all times, in accordance with residents’ rights, with very limited and rare exceptions.   

Important updates include: States may require visitors to be tested prior to entering a facility;  the facility must provide the rapid test to the visitor.  Visitors are not responsible for obtaining a test, and if the facility does not provide a rapid test, visitors cannot be required to test before entering.  Visitors must be allowed to enter if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms or meet the criteria for quarantine (e.g., a positive COVID-19 test result).   CMS suggests best practices for improving air quality during visitation.  Facilities can employ multiple strategies to manage airflow, and funding is available to facilities for environmental changes to reduce COVID-19 transmission.  Facilities can request up to $3000 of Civil Money Penalty Reinvestment funds to purchase portable room air cleaners with HEPA filters and portable fans to increase and improve air quality.    Read the full FAQs.

Additionally, while the CDC describes fully vaccinated as having completed the first series of COVID-19 vaccines, it has added a definition for being “up to date” with  COVID-19 vaccines.  A person is “up to date” with their vaccinations when they have received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any boosters for which they are eligible.

This new definition impacts who is required to quarantine in healthcare settings, according to the CDC.  Quarantine is now recommended for patients who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 if they are not “up to date” with their COVID-19 vaccine doses – unless they have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. Learn more on the CDC’s website.
 
Updated CDC guidance also emphasizes that older adults in congregate settings are at high risk of illnesses such as COVID-19 and that it is critical to have a strong infection prevention and control program to protect residents and health care workers.  As nursing homes resume normal activities, they must continue with their infection prevention and control practices in order to prevent spread and protect residents and health care workers from severe infection, hospitalization, and death.  For more information, visit the CDC’s website.

-CEJC April “Lunch & Learn” for Professional Conservators, Medicare Coverage for SNF Care, 4/21 @ 12 PM

The Coalition for Elder Justice in CT, the Elder Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, and the Office of the Probate Court Administrator collaborated to continue the free “Lunch & Learn” webinar series for professional conservators in 2022. Below is the information and registration for the April webinar: Nursing Facility Advocacy 101: Medicare Coverage for Skilled Nursing Facility Care that will be presented on April 21, 2022, by Attorney Kathleen Holt, Assistant Director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy. CLE and CEC approval is pending.

Join us to learn about or refresh your knowledge about Medicare coverage for Nursing Facility Care. Attorney Kathleen Holt from the Center for Medicare Advocacy will provide an overview of Medicare coverage for skilled nursing facility care, tips for advocating for continued Medicare coverage, and advice on how to request an appeal for Medicare coverage.

REGISTER HERE

Register now for the March “Lunch & Learn” for Professional Conservators

The Coalition for Elder Justice in CT, the Elder Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, and the Office of the Probate Court Administrator collaborated to continue the free “Lunch & Learn” webinar series for professional conservators in 2022. Below is the information and registration for the March webinar: Nursing Facility Advocacy 101: Connecticut Standards of Practice for Conservators that will be presented on March 25, 2022, by Judge Jeannine Lewis and Attorney Sandra Sherlock White. CLE and CEC approval is pending.

As a Conservator, you serve an important role in the lives of some of our state’s most vulnerable residents. Judge Jeannine Lewis and Attorney Sandra Sherlock-White will present the history behind the creation of the Connecticut Standards of Practice for Conservators, published in 2018 by the Office of the Probate Court Administrator. Learn why this initiative is vitally important to enhancing outcomes for conserved individuals. Learn practical tips for complying with the Standards, guidance on best practices for serving as conservator or advising a conservator, advice on avoidance of common pitfalls, and insight from a probate judge and an elder law practitioner to assist conservators in navigating the practical realities of a very dynamic and human area of the law.

Please register for Nursing Facility Advocacy 101: Connecticut Standards of Practice for Conservators on Mar 25, 2022 12:00 PM EDT at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5416373919216585996

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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UCONN: “Fighting for Dignity” Understanding and Preventing Harmful Interactions Between Residents with Dementia, screening and discussion with Dr. Eilon Caspi, 2/22 @ 3 PM

Please join us for a conversation about Eilon Caspi’s new book and screen the documentary film, “Fighting for Dignity.”

February 22, 2022

3:00 – 4:00

Register here:

https://events.zoom.us/ev/ACyiqzQ49hOnU2–C3HBZvGawua9124QEFsYPSYY3_KLgYdqxVG2QeurErjUgRjfXXJhXP8?lmt=1643642582000

About this event

This event is sponsored by InCHIP’s Aging Research Interest Group, with support from the Human Rights Institute. The phenomenon of resident-to-resident incidents in nursing homes is prevalent and harmful but it remains underrecognized, untracked, understudied, and largely unaddressed. During this session, Dr. Caspi will give an overview of this phenomenon in the specific context of individuals with dementia including its common causes and consequences. He will describe high-level organizational strategies and persisting barriers for reducing these incidents and keeping vulnerable residents safe (such as the longstanding dangerous normalization of this phenomenon and why our society would not remain indifferent to it in childcare settings). We will start the session with screening and discussion of the 20-minutes documentary film Fighting for Dignity (Terra Nova Films) which focuses on the emotional trauma experienced by families of elders seriously harmed during these episodes. We will conclude the session with a brief overview of my new book on the prevention of these incidents (Health Professions Press). Book: Understanding and Preventing Harmful Interactions Between Residents with Dementia (Health Professions Press, 2022): https://www.healthpropress.com/product/understanding-and-preventing-harmful-interactions-between-residents-with-dementia/ Documentary Film Fighting for Dignity (Terra Nova Films, 2020): https://terranova.org/film-catalog/fighting-for-dignity-a-film-on-injurious-and-fatal-resident-to-resident-incidents-in-long-term-care-homes/ Eilon Caspi is an Assistant Research Professor at the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy at University of Connecticut. His applied research and data-driven advocacy focus on improving understanding and the prevention of various forms of elder mistreatment (such as neglect, abuse, financial exploitation, theft of opioid pain medications, and resident-to-resident incidents) in nursing homes and assisted living residences.

AARP CT “Webinar Wednesdays” in February”

Energy Bills


Have your electric bill ready to view during the session to understand its complicated components, learn about your choices when it comes to suppliers, how to make informed decisions, and where to find the most reliable data on suppliers.

Know Your Electric Choices

Date & Time:
Wednesday, February 2, 2022
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location:
Virtual REGISTER


AARP FWN Con Artist Playbook
Date & Time:
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location:
Virtual
REGISTER
Explore the psychology behind ID theft, fraud, and scams through actual footage of scammers, insights and advice. Walk away armed with tools to spot and stop the criminals, and the value of sharing your experience to help others from being victimized.

ACL: Dementia Training for Law Enforcement 2/24 @ 1 PM

  Blue banner with white text: For the Network  

Dementia Training for Law Enforcement Personnel: Building Partnerships to Enhance Community Safety Thursday, February 24, 2022, 1:00-2:00 PM ET   REGISTER   As Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias become more common, law enforcement agencies across the country are increasingly called upon to respond to dementia-related incidents: wandering, abuse, domestic disturbances, and more. By collaborating with local dementia support organizations, law enforcement entities can better identify, understand, and support the needs of people living with dementia and those who care for them.

This webinar will review the development of a successful local law enforcement dementia training program, describing key challenges and lessons learned. Participants will learn strategies for successful outreach and program development that they can use to build partnerships with law enforcement in their own communities. 

If you have questions, please contact Sari Shuman. Funded by ACL, NADRC provides support to ACL and its grantees to implement evidence-based interventions and innovative practices that empower and assist caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.  Facebook Twitter YouTube  ACL.gov  
Advancing independence, integration, and inclusion throughout life   Please do not respond to this e-mail. Contact the Administration for Community Living.
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AARP CT: Free Transportation Navigation Webinar Series

Know How to Go 101:  Transportation Navigation 6-Part Series:  Learn to navigate transportation options with AARP CT and Kennedy Center, Inc. for this FREE, Virtual session offering professionals, individuals and those interested in the topic, information on supporting transportation options to increase independence.  Sessions are approved for (1.0) Continuing Education Unit per session, by NASW/CT meeting the continuing education criteria for CT Social Work Licensure renewal.  Also applicable for license renewals for CT LPCs LMFTs, & licensed psychologists. Register for each seminar separately. CEUs available to Social Workers in states recognizing NASW State Chapter approvals.  Visit:  https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Chapters/Find-a-Chapter 

Virtual U:  Assistive Technology Access: Join AARP CT and Dr. Lauren Tucker, assistant professor at Southern Connecticut State University for this 2-hour virtual training.  The technology landscape is changing rapidly, more services and connections can be made by learning how to gain access to these resources.  This is crucial for many individuals living in our communities. Learn about the different platforms that are being built and how they are used to remove barriers. Learn this new framework, assess individual’s strengths/challenges, their environment and tasks and tools to utilize for assisting yourself and others in utilizing Assistive Technology for their pathway towards livability.  This session will review aspects of accessibility built into many handheld and tablet devices and website browsers which can be utilized to increase user access. Demonstrations, use examples, and links to additional resources for further information will also be provided during the session.  This program is approved for (1.0) Continuing Education Units by NASW/CT and meets the continuing education criteria for CT Social Work Licensure renewal.  This approval is also applicable for license renewals for CT LPCs, LMFTs, and licensed psychologists. NOTE:  CEUs available to Social Workers in states recognizing an NASW State Chapter CE approvals.  Visit https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Chapters/Find-a-Chapter

2/17/22 @ 2PM-4PM – https://aarp.cventevents.com/TuckerAT