Author: Lara Stauning

Center for Medicare Advocacy, Free Webinar: Medicare Home Health and DME Update, 4/28, 1-2:30 PM

FREE WEBINAR | Medicare Home Health and DME Update

Thursday, April 28, 2022 @ 1 – 2:30 PM EST

Sponsored by California Health Advocates

Understanding Medicare is important to those who currently qualify for health coverage through Medicare, or may qualify in the future. An Overview of Medicare for People Living With Paralysis includes information on eligibility, enrollment, coverage (with a special emphasis on home health care and durable medical equipment: related laws, regulations, policies and practical tips to assist people living with paralysis to access home and community-based Medicare coverage), and choosing between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage. 

Presented by Center for Medicare Advocacy Executive Director, attorney Judith Stein, and Associate Director, attorney Kathleen Holt, the presentation includes a 30-minute live question & answer session.

Register Now:

ACL: Help with Ordering Free At-home COVID-19 Tests

On January 14, the White House announced a new initiative to help ensure Americans have COVID-19 tests on hand in case they are needed. The website to order at-home testing kits — at no cost — is now live and accepting orders. People who do not have Internet access or who need additional assistance with ordering can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to place their orders. 

The Eldercare Locator and the Disability Information and Assistance Line (DIAL) also can assist older adults and people with disabilities with placing orders if they need additional help, connect people to accessible instructions, and help with administering the tests. Both phone lines are staffed Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern). 

-Older adults can call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 Monday-Friday or visit the website to chat live or browse resources.  

-People with disabilities can contact DIAL by calling 888-677-1199 or by emailing [email protected]. The DIAL information specialists are trained to work with people of various communications abilities, including spending as much time as needed to understand callers. Deaf and hard-of-hearing people can reach DIAL using the 711/Video Relay Service (VRS). To use this free service, simply dial 711 to be connected via text with a communications assistant. (For people who do not communicate through speech, sign language or VRS, email is the best option to communicate with DIAL.)

Two important notes: There are enough kits to fill orders for every residential address in the country.  Orders will begin shipping at the end of January, for both people who placed their orders via the online form in the days when only the online form was available and those who began ordering when the phone lines became available.

Governor Lamont Issues Order Requiring Nursing Home Visitors Show Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination or Negative Test Result

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has issued an executive order (Executive Order No. 14F) directing all nursing homes in Connecticut to require visitors to either show proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recently tested negative for the virus in order to enter the facilities.

“We know that some of the people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 include those who live in nursing homes, which is why we need to be doing everything we can to protect them from this virus,” Governor Lamont said. “This is one more precaution we can implement at these facilities to keep them safe.”

Specifically, when entering nursing homes, visitors must:

  • Provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and, if eligible, under FDA or CDC guidance, have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster;
  • Provide paper or electronic proof of a negative COVID-19 test result from either a rapid antigen test that was completed within the previous 48 hours or a PCR test that was completed within the previous 72 hours; or
  • Take a rapid antigen test at the nursing home.

The order requires nursing homes to deny entrance to any visitor that tests positive for COVID-19 or who refuses to take a rapid antigen test. The order further provides, according to guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, that a nursing home cannot deny entrance to any visitor who is willing to take a rapid antigen test but is unable to do so because the nursing home is not able to provide a rapid antigen test.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health plans on distributing 50,000 rapid antigen tests to all nursing homes. These are to be used exclusively to facilitate safe visitation. Distribution will begin on Friday, January 21, 2022.

The order takes effect on Saturday, January 22, 2022.

**DownloadGovernor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 14F

Justice in Aging, Updated “25 Common Nursing Home Problems & How to Resolve Them” Now Available

Justice in Aging has updated its essential guide, 25 Common Nursing Home Problems—& How to Resolve Them. The revised guide includes new information on how to fight evictions, COVID-19 specific information for the ongoing public health emergency, and more. 

The 25 problems identified in the guide are common across the country and in all types of nursing homes. The guide gives residents, family members, friends, and other advocates the tools they need to identify and solve the problems residents most frequently face. 

Today! Center for Medicare Advocacy Webinar, Medicare Home Health Services, 2-3 PM

After the tremendous response to last week’s webinar on Medicare home health services and access (you can view the recording here), we are offering a follow-up presentation tomorrow, Wednesday, January 19, from 2-3 PM EST. Register now for more discussion of Medicare home health coverage and access

The Center’s mission to advance access to comprehensive Medicare coverage, health equity, and quality healthcare is more important than ever during this challenging time. More free, insightful webinars will be coming from the Center this year. We also invite you to sign up to receive our weekly CMA Alerts and stay updated on important Medicare and healthcare news, webinar notices, and more – at no cost. If you have already signed up, you can be an ambassador for the Center by forwarding this email to anyone you think would like to join our community.

The Center is a non-profit, law organization dedicated to making an impact for families across the country. If we can grow the number of participating donors, we can continue our efforts to work on behalf of all people who rely on Medicare, speak for patients who would otherwise not be heard, and keep our educational webinars free for everyone. Make a donation today to help make a difference.

Most of all, we are grateful to you for your participation and for being part of our community. Thank you very much.

Alzheimer’s Assoc. to Host The New England Family Caregivers Conference March 4-5

The State Unit on Aging, as a Community Partner of the Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, is happy to announce that The Alzheimer’s Association will host a free virtual educational conference for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their families. The New England Family Conference will take place March 4-5, 2022 and is open to individuals living with Alzheimer’s, family caregivers and the general public. Hear from a panel of individuals living with Alzheimer’s, as well as a panel of caregivers who will share firsthand experiences in their journey with the disease and life after a diagnosis. The schedule of programs features a special session in Spanish, Legal and Financial Issues to Consider, Caregiving, Ambiguity and Finding the Tools to Thrive and Flourish, presented by Jack Paul Gesino, DSW, LCSW, and The Journey of Grief Throughout Caregiving: It Begins with the Diagnosis, presented by Deanna Upchurch. Experts in the field of care and support will share practical and concrete recommendations, resources, and guidance in the care and support for those living a life with dementia.

For more information and to register for the event, visit

Governor Lamont Extends State’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol Through February 2, Urges Residents To Prepare for Below Normal Temperatures for Next Two Weeks

Posted on January 18, 2022

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that due to trends in the forecast indicating that temperatures in Connecticut will generally average about 10 degrees below normal for the next two weeks, he is directing the state’s severe cold weather protocol – which he activated on Friday, January 14 – to remain in effect through noon on Wednesday, February 2, 2022. It was originally set to expire on Wednesday, January 19.

Current forecasts are indicating that over the next two weeks, highs in the state are generally expected to be in the 20s, with lows in the single digits or teens. At times, the state may experience a few arctic outbreaks during which highs may only reach about 10 degrees, and lows dipping to between -10 and -20 degrees.

“It’s appearing that over the next couple of weeks we’re going to experience temperatures that are even colder than what is normal for this time of year, in addition to the potential for multiple winter storms,” Governor Lamont said. “This long-duration severe cold weather can be life threatening if someone is outdoors for extended periods of time. Shelters are open across the state, and I urge anyone in need to get connected to these services. If you or someone you know is in need of shelter, call 2-1-1 and they will direct you to a nearby location and can also provide transportation if needed.”

The purpose of the severe cold weather protocol is to ensure that the most vulnerable populations receive protection from the severe cold conditions. 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, including transportation to shelters.

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 or download the CTPrepares app to mobile devices at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.  
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Portal for Ordering COVID Test Kits Now Open


Free COVID-19 Rapid Tests A new website from the US Postal Service allows residents to order at-home COVID-19 rapid testing kits.


Details: Limit of one order per residential address One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests Orders will ship free starting in late January   Visit USPS site     More information about COVID-19 testing for state health plan members will be forthcoming as federal guidance is implemented. 

Governor Lamont Announces Agreement With Disability Rights Groups on Distribution of COVID-19 Rapid Tests and N95 Masks

Posted on January 14, 2022

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that his administration, working in cooperation with the Office of Attorney General William Tong, has reached an agreement with Disability Rights Connecticut and Connecticut Legal Rights Project regarding the state’s ongoing distribution of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests and N95 masks.

Under the agreement, the Connecticut Department of Public Health is issuing revised guidance to towns and cities on the distribution of tests and masks. This updated guidance includes instructions on the prioritization of vulnerable populations, including those who live in congregate housing and those who have physical, mental, or intellectual or other developmental disabilities.

In addition, the administration will be providing 20,000 N95 masks (without metal in them) to the Connecticut Department of Correction for the immediate use of incarcerated individuals.

Disability Rights Connecticut and Connecticut Legal Rights Project have agreed to withdraw complaints they recently filed on this topic with the Office of Civil Rights and the United States Department of Justice.

“We know that COVID-19 is impacting certain, vulnerable populations the most, and that is why we need to do everything in our ability to ensure that those who have physical, mental, or developmental disabilities or live in congregate settings have access to the tools they need to protect themselves from this virus,” Governor Lamont said. “I appreciate Disability Rights Connecticut and Connecticut Legal Rights Project for working with my administration on this effort.”

“I want to thank our Health section chief Dan Shapiro for his excellent work in crafting this agreement, which will provide important access to masks and testing supplies for incarcerated individuals and individuals with disabilities,” Attorney General Tong said. “I thank Governor Lamont and his team for their dogged efforts to bring these masks and tests into Connecticut to help keep us safe and fight this pandemic.”

“As an organization serving individuals with disabilities throughout the state, we are pleased that the governor acted quickly in response to our complaints to get effective relief to the people we represent during this very difficult period in the pandemic,” Deborah Dorfman, executive director of Disability Rights Connecticut, said. “This will help protect those who are most at risk, benefitting everyone.”

“We are very appreciative that the state worked collaboratively with us to ensure that our clients in DMHAS facilities were able to get N95 masks, and to increase access to self-test kits for Connecticut residents with disabilities in all 169 cities and towns,” Kathy Flaherty, executive director of Connecticut Legal Rights Project, said.

**Download: Revised guidance from the Connecticut Department of Public Health to towns and cities on the distribution of tests and masks  
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