Rebecca Bartle, RN, MSN, HFA, Regulatory Affairs Director, Hoosier Owners and Providers for the Elderly and Regulatory Consultant to Leading Age Indiana
I participated in a call with FSSA and ISDH at noon today. A few points of clarification from my earlier email were offered and I would like to now share with you:
The spreadsheet completed per the ISDH newsletter is to list only COVID positive (not presumed). It is anticipated that we will be reporting presumed going forward. However, for gathering of this historical data, they are asking only those who tested COVID positive via PCR testing.
Even if a facility had NO COVID positive cases, the facility must still submit the spreadsheet, entering 0's in the fields. They simply need an accounting from each facility.
For those who have been concerned about privacy, this is why they went with the last 4 of the social security number. This will assist to correctly identify individuals without providing the entire number.
Should a facility have a positive COVID resident AFTER 7/14 (when the spreadsheet must be submitted), the facility should report the positive as "normal" until further notice. NOTE* ISDH stated facilities no longer need to report positives in Gateway, as they are being reported on Redcap and NHSN. A participant quickly jumped on the call and informed ISDH that multiple surveyors were instructing all positives (staff and residents) to be reported on Gateway (as a reportable)- and, I might add, we have been advised to do so, and there has been no information distributed to retract that directive to my knowledge. Matt Foster stated that he would correct that misconception with ISDH staff. He clearly stated reporting COVID positive staff and residents on the Gateway is no longer necessary- he indicated this process ended 2-3 weeks ago......
When questioning whether there will be another round of employee testing in the future, Dr. Weaver stated that while it is no definitive, likely, any future employee testing will be conducted where there is an outbreak or increase in a county that would indicate a need for such testing.
RE: Visitation Guidance:
Excursions- I just addressed this in an email this morning, and it was again addressed on this call. The point was to allow the resident to go out of the facility for weddings/funerals (once in a lifetime) type outings. They also stressed if the resident wants to go to church, to do the research on practices being upheld, etc, in making good decisions. Should a resident return and state they hugged "everybody" while there, etc., .......of course that is a problem that will need to be addressed.
The specific question of LOA overnight with family was addressed, and it was stated the addressing of guidance was not intended to imply an overnight stay is an excursion that is acceptable.
The emphasis is on whatever a facility does, to use good judgment. Safeguard residents as best we can, continue to screen all who enter (and they stated this WILL NOT go away anytime soon), keep good documentation, and work toward successful visitation practices.
There is no anticipated date to start annual surveys back up; however, they may start Life Safety Code surveys very soon, as they have gotten far behind.
You can anticipate periodic visits from Infection Control Nurses contracted by the state and who work under the direction of Jennifer Spivey (ISDH Infection Preventionist), who have been tasked to serve as "support" to facilities and will only report to ISDH for survey follow up if they observe egregious practices.
I will attempt to continue to provide to you new information as it is distributed.