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Dear NHA members,

As we continue to face the Coronavirus pandemic, we at the NHA want to make sure we're giving you the most accurate and pertinent information available that impacts our members. Starting today, we will now be publishing a twice-weekly COVID-19 Update.

Watch for this e-newsletter on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the foreseeable future. These updates are in addition to our Friday Newslink and will focus only on information related to COVID-19. 

Wishing you health and safety during these trying times; please don't hesitate to reach out with questions or issues. We're here to serve you.

Laura J. Redoutey, FACHE
President, Nebraska Hospital Association
DHHS Information
Medicare:  Providers and Suppliers can request 1135 waivers directly from CMS Survey & Operations Group.
CMS has made several blanket waivers available: a blanket waiver’s issued, providers don’t have to apply for an individual waiver. Blanket waivers prevent access to care gaps for all beneficiaries affected by the emergency.  If there’s no blanket waiver, providers can ask for an individual Section 1135 waiver by following these instructions.
Telehealth: Beginning on March 6, 2020, Medicare—administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.
Medicaid and Long Term Care
DHHS Informational Calls for Infection Prevention Guidance - Acute Healthcare Facilities

When: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (recurring) | 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. CT
Dial-In Number: (415) 655-0003
Meeting Number: 924 627 702
Meeting Password (for Webex Link): ACU20

AHA News/Updates

FDA releases guidance to mitigate ventilator supply disruptions. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Food and Drug Administration yesterday released updated guidance to provide flexibility and expand the availability of ventilators and other respiratory devices to treat patients during the public health emergency. In addition, FDA released a letter to supplement the updated guidance that provides recommendations directed at providers. Download the AHA Advisory for more information.
FEMA releases updated COVID-19 advisory. The Federal Emergency Management Agency today released a COVID-19 pandemic advisory describing in general terms what actions it is taking, how community-based testing sites will be managed, and information about the Defense Production Act. Read more in this AHA update, which includes information on the extended public assistance deadline and links to fact sheets.
AHA president praises health care workers, highlights need for supplies on CBS' Face the Nation. Hospitals and health systems need additional federal funding to combat COVID-19, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation. "The most immediate thing we need is personal protective equipment — the masks, the gowns, the goggles, that type of equipment — to protect our health care heroes that are on the front lines." On the program, Pollack also recognized "the unbelievable work that's going on in our hospitals by the doctors, nurses and other health care workers. Their dedication and their efforts are ones that we should all very much appreciate." View the full segment from Sunday's program.
Department of Labor urged to define 'health care provider.' The AHA has asked the Department of Labor to accurately define "health care provider" as it promulgates regulations implementing key sections of the recently-enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act and clarify how this policy will be operationalized, including how it interacts with state law. "We applaud Congress and the Administration for steps already taken to assist hospitals as they help combat this public health emergency and ask that you provide further assistance to ensure that an adequate workforce will be available to care for our communities."
Federal and state resources for reporting price gouging available. The Department of Justice has established a website, hotline and email for reporting price gouging and fraud. The National Center for Disaster Fraud is coordinating the effort and will triage complaints to the appropriate federal and/or state authorities. In a memo to United States Attorneys, Attorney General Barr reiterated that "[t]he pandemic is dangerous enough without wrongdoers seeking to profit from public panic and this sort of conduct cannot be tolerated." Many state attorneys general also have authority to investigate and prosecute price gouging and can be contacted directly with a complaint as well. A listing of state laws that cover or relate to price gouging can be found here.   
CMS Updates
CMS releases suite of Medicaid/CHIP waiver tools. On Sunday, CMS released a series of COVID-19 checklists and tools for states to use for their Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs. CMS says that, used together, these new resources form a comprehensive Medicaid COVID-19 federal authority checklist to make it easier for states to receive federal waivers and implement flexibilities in their program.
The following tools are now available:
Furthermore, CMS is providing states the option to request these waivers and other authorities be made effective retroactively, to at least March 1, 2020, the effective date of President Trump's national emergency declaration.

CMS releases FAQs on Medicare provider enrollment relief for COVID-19. CMS has released frequently asked questions regarding enrollment relief for Medicare providers in light of COVID-19. Among other areas, the FAQs include information on CMS's newly established Medicare provider enrollment hotlines, Medicare billing privileges and how CMS is exercising its 1135 waiver authority.

Request for Information

Nebraska DHHS developing a list of ventilators available per hospital.
If you have not already responded,
please email
as soon as possible.
For information related to updated best practices in caring for staff and patients during Covid 19, please participate in the Monday, Wednesday, Friday DHHS calls at noon.  Information can be found on the NHA website.

Quality Update

Are you having your staff decontaminate prior to leaving your hospital?
Consider opening up your hospital decontamination room to staff at the end of their shift.

CMS, Joint Commission and DMV

have suspended routine surveys at this time. State surveys will be conducted as a result of: 1) an immediate jeopardy concern that is the result of a complaint and 2) an infection control concern per request from the CDC.
Governor's Office
Governor Ricketts has released a new weekly column, which is now available below.
It’s hard to believe how quickly the coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed our lives in just a matter of weeks. I am grateful to Nebraskans for making sacrifices and taking precautions to help slow the spread of the virus and keep people healthy.  Nebraskans have been complying with limitations on social gatherings and practicing good hygiene.  These actions are vitally important as we seek to protect everyone from the virus, especially the most vulnerable people in our state. 

Advocacy Updates

Negotiations continue on COVID-19 legislation; AHA Advocacy Alert
Leaders from the Senate and administration continue to negotiate a third spending package related to COVID-19. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (S. 3548); however, the Senate legislative language does not reflect a bipartisan agreement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that the House Democrats may release their own package to reflect their priorities. See the summary for provisions included in the legislation introduced by McConnell.
While AHA appreciates that the current legislation includes funding and provisions — such as funding to reimburse hospitals for COVID-19 expenses, elimination of the Medicare sequester through December 2020 and delaying the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital cuts by two years — that are important to hospitals and health systems, we believe that additional areas should be included in the package.
The AHA today sent hospital and health system leaders an Action Alert to contact their lawmakers and urge them to allocate $100 billion to frontline health care personnel and providers and direct the federal agencies to begin to infuse funds immediately so that providers can afford to take the necessary steps to combat COVID-19.


Federal disaster loans available for small businesses
Federal disaster loans are now available for Nebraska small businesses after the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) approved Nebraska’s request for assistance last Friday. It allows affected businesses and nonprofits to begin applying for low-interest, long-term loans to help them pay bills and other expenses during the business disruptions that COVID-19 is creating. Restaurants, bars, retailers, salons and other small businesses have had to restrict operations or close entirely due to the limit on public gatherings.

The annual interest rate is 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. No payments are due on the loans for one year. Each application is being reviewed on a case-by-case basis. It can take 21 to 30 days to receive funds, but it’s expected that Nebraskans applying to the SBA will soon be eligible for short-term bridge loans of up to $25,000. 

Healthcare facilities in the U.S. began purchasing off the shelf computers to prepare for remote workers. In preparing these devices, it's been reported that numerous newly purchased devices contained malware. Providers purchasing resources during the current pandemic should take standard precautions and not assume newly purchased devices do not have malware.

If you have questions regarding cybersecurity, contact John Riggi
at AHA. 
Stay informed. Visit our COVID-19 web page on our NHA website for information and resources.
Questions? Please reach out to the NHA via

3255 Salt Creek Circle Suite 100 | Lincoln, NE 68504 US

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