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January 5, 2021

In this Issue:

  1. COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Provisions for Residents of Long-Term Care, Immunity for Facilities Not Included
  2. New Fact Sheet on Making the Case for Compassionate Care
  3. FAQs by Guardians about the COVID-19 Vaccine
  4. 2021 STEAP Initiative Calendar Available
  5. New Info Page on COVID-19 Vaccination Process

COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Provisions for Residents of Long-Term Care, Immunity for Facilities Not Included

In late December, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which contained long-awaited COVID-19 relief for Americans.  The voluminous bill contained several provisions related to residents of long-term care facilities.  These provisions included:

  • $600 for individuals with income up to $75,000 in income.  $1200 for married couples with income up to $150k.  $600 for each dependent under 17.
  • $100 million to the Agency for Community Living to enforce provisions of the Elder Justice Act.  This money will go to Adult Protective Service Agencies and Long-Term Care Ombudsmen to help investigate and prevent abuse of older Americans.
  • Money Follows the Person was extended for three years.  This federal program provides states with additional money to help aged individuals and people with disabilities transition from institutions into the community.
  • Spousal impoverishment provisions were renewed until 2023.  These provisions allow individuals to retain some or all of the income of their spouse who is receiving Medicaid funded long-term care services.

Not included in the legislation was immunity for long-term care facilities.  Late last year, Consumer Voice had asked for our network's help in opposing immunity for long-term care facilities from civil liability for negligent care that harmed residents during the pandemic.   The immunity legislation was tied to this most recent COVID-19 relief bill. However, it was ultimately not included in the legislation.

New Fact Sheet on Making the Case for Compassionate Care

Compassionate care visits are special visits in which a family member or other visitor provides comfort, support, and/or assistance to a resident whose well-being is suffering or at risk, or who is dying.  Read our new fact sheet for information on what the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) considers a compassionate care visit, what makes a compassionate care visit special and different from other visits, and when a resident can receive compassionate care visits.  The fact sheet also provides information on common issues you may face and what to do if the facility denies you compassionate care visits.

Get the Fact Sheet

FAQs by Guardians about the COVID-19 Vaccine
The National Center for State Courts, the American Bar Association, and the National Guardianship Association have released a document addressing common questions about guardians and the COVID-19 vaccination for long-term care facility residents.  It is a two-page brochure to inform guardians and family members about decisions related to vaccinating residents.

Get the Resource

2021 STEAP Initiative Calendar Available
The 2021 STEAP (Supports + Tools for Elder Abuse Prevention) Initiative calendar is now available.  The STEAP Initiative was launched by the National Center on Elder Abuse, in partnership with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, in an effort to educate and empower communities to create a sturdy structure of support to notice, report, and prevent abuse. The 2021 calendar highlights many opportunities throughout the year to bring your community together and build awareness on elder abuse. The outreach calendar includes commemorations related to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation prevention and programming to generate awareness and foster action to end elder abuse.

Get the Calendar

New Info Page on COVID-19 Vaccination Process
Consumer Voice has a new webpage with information on the COVID-19 vaccination process for residents of long-term care facilities.  The webpage includes:

  • What we know so far about the vaccination process;
  • What consumers and advocates can do;
  • Resources from the CDC on vaccinating long-term care facility residents and information on long-term care pharmacy partnerships with Walgreens and CVS;
  • Information about Emergency Use Authorizations;
  • Post vaccine considerations for residents and healthcare personnel; and
  • Additonal information and resources.

This page will continue to be updated as more information and resources become available.

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