The Lead January 15, 2021

Top Stories:
IDPH Director Issues Video Message Encouraging Long Term Care Workers to Get Vaccinated
Legislation Passes on Coverage of Testing and TNAs
102nd Illinois General Assembly Begins with New House Speaker
Partners in Quality Virtual Visits Held with State Rep. Ford and U.S. Rep. Foster
Vaccination Update
Provider Relief Fund Updates
Quality Reporting Trainings
President-Elect Biden’s COVID Plan

Nursing and Rehabilitation:
Rates of COVID-19 Among Residents and Staff Members in Nursing Homes
SPEED Project

Independent Affordable/Subsidized Housing:
Take the LeadingAge Quarterly Housing Survey on Vaccines, HUD Payments, and

Section 202 Capital Advance Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)
IWISH Update
Contact Tracing Professionals Share Tips for Housing Providers
HUD Introduces Find Shelter Tool to Help Community Members Locate Service Providers and Local Resources

Member Spotlight: Providence Life Services

Top Stories:

IDPH Director Issues Video Message Encouraging Long Term Care Workers to Get Vaccinated
LeadingAge Illinois and the other associations made a number of recent requests for the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to record a video message directed towards long term care workers on the importance of receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine.  IDPH Director, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, has now recorded and released this message. 

Here’s a look at some of her remarks in the approximate three-minute video:

  • “Hello to all of my frontline heroes; all of you working in long term care facilities.”
  • “You know how severe this illness can be. You have been on the frontline with our most vulnerable residents, and sometimes being the only one that be there to console them because visitation was not permitted.”
  • “Thank you frontline healthcare workers, you have done so much and we need you for dedication and selfless caring for others.”
  • “I urge you to give yourself peace of mind by getting your COVID vaccination. When you are getting vaccinated, it’s not just for you, it’s protection for your family, for your friends, for your coworkers, and for your residents that you’ve dedicated your professional life to protect. We need you. We need you to continue the amazing work that you are doing.”

She ended by providing the IDPH website on the vaccine that has FAQs.

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Legislation Passes on Coverage of Testing and TNAs
This week, in the Illinois General Assembly’s Lame Duck Session, the Senate Bill 1510 (Amendment #3) passed both chambers.

The legislation included a few issues the legislative leadership reached out to the provider associations on previously.  We gave the leaders our immediate concerns related to COVID-19 pandemic and the effects on our member operations.  Further, we outlined that long-term care providers across the state are required to do testing twice per week for staff and employees, and that insurance was not covering the routine surveillance testing required by local, state, or federal officials.

The Passed Bill:

  • Coverage of Testing:
    • We were able to secure language in this legislation stating that the Illinois General Assembly finds and declares that routine COVID-19 testing of nursing home facility employees, as mandated by State or Federal laws, rules, regulations or guidance, is medically necessary. As a result, insurance companies must cover the cost associated with such testing.
    • Failure by a health plan to comply with the requirements of the legislation may constitute a basis for disciplinary action against the health plan.
    • The Illinois Department of Insurance shall have all the civil, criminal, and administrative remedies available under the Illinois Insurance Code.
  • Temporary Nurse Assistant Program:
    • Language was included on Temporary Nurse Assistants (TNAs) transition to CNAs.
    • A CNA trainee normally has 45 days after employment to enroll in a training program, the new language will extend that time to 90 days.
    • The time frame to complete their training, due to the staffing demands of handling COVID positive residents, was extended from 120 days to 240 days.
    • Gives the worker one hour of credit for everyday they worked as a TNA up to 40 hours towards the clinical requirements.
  • Continuing Education:
    • Rules for LPN’s, RN’s and Nursing Home Administrators License must allow for a licensee to complete all required hours of continuing education in an online format.
    • This language is scheduled to be repealed on January 1, 2028.

This legislation now goes to the Governor for his final action.  We will keep you posted on those developments. If you have any questions, contact Kirk Riva. 

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102nd Illinois General Assembly Begins with New House Speaker
The 102nd Illinois General Assembly began their spring session on January 13 with inauguration day.  Big news out of Springfield that transpired this week was the selection of a new House Speaker.  State Representative Emanuel Chris Welch (D-7th District; Westchester) is the new Illinois House Speaker.  He is the first ever African American Illinois House Speaker. Welch was elected to the Illinois House in 2012 and LeadingAge Illinois quickly developed a relationship with him.

Welch, a former LeadingAge Illinois Legislator of the Year, has been a part of several Partners in Quality visits at member communities in his district and outside of his district.  He also welcomed members into his office at the Illinois State Capitol Complex in Springfield and participated in a LeadingAge Illinois video regarding the importance of legislative visits at senior living communities.

Welch replaces State Representative Michael J. Madigan, who suspended his reelection campaign after being the longest serving House Speaker in the state and country.  Madigan was first was elected in 1983.

Also on the legislative leader front, Senator Don Harmon (D-39th District; Oak Park) was reelected as Senate President.  State Representative Jim Durkin (R-82d District; Burr Ridge) was reelected as House Republican Leader.

New Legislators in 102nd General Assembly:
LeadingAge Illinois has identified the new members of the legislature and have already begun reaching out to them to educate them on member issues.

New Members in the House:

  • Denyse Wang Stoneback (D-16th District)
  • Tim Ozinga (R-37th District)
  • Janet Yang Rohr (D-41st District)
  • Seth Lewis (R-45th District)
  • Maura Hirschauer (D-49th District)
  • Chris Bos (R-51st District)
  • Martin McLaughlin (R-52nd District)
  • Suzanne Ness (D-66th District)
  • Dave Vella (D-68th District)
  • Dagmara Avelar (D-85th District)
  • Mark Luft (R-91st District)
  • Adam Niemerg (R-109th District)
  • Amy Elik (R-111th District)
  • Paul Jacobs (R-115th District)
  • David Friess (R-116h District)

New Members in the Senate:

  • Karina Villa (D-49th District). Was in the House.
  • John Connor (D-43rd District)
  • Darren Bailey (R-55th District). Was in the House
  • Terri Bryant (R-58th District). Was in the House


Important Session Dates:

  • January 29: House Deadline for Legislative Reference Bureau Requests (Bill Submissions)
  • February 5: Senate Deadline for Legislative Reference Bureau Requests (Bill Submissions)
  • February 11: House Deadline for Introduction of House Bills
  • February 17: Governor’s State of the State and Budget Address
  • February 19: Deadline for Introduction of Substantive Senate Bills
  • March 26: House Deadline for Committee Substantive House Bills
  • March 26: Senate Deadline for Substantive Senate Bills out of Committee
  • March 29-April 9: Spring Break
  • April 23: House Deadline for Third Reading of House Bills
  • April 23: Senate Deadline for Third Reading Substantive Senate Bills
  • May 14: Committee Deadline in House for Senate Bills
  • May 14: Senate Deadline for Substantive House Bills out of Committee
  • May 28: House Deadline for Third Reading of House Bills
  • May 28: Senate Deadline for Third Reading Substantive House Bills
  • May 31: Adjournment of Session

LeadingAge Illinois will keep you abreast of activity from Springfield as the session rolls on.  If you have any questions, please contact Kirk Riva or Jason Speaks.

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Partners in Quality Virtual Visits Held with State Rep. Ford and U.S. Rep. Foster
We continue to hold Partners in Quality Virtual Visits with members of the Illinois General Assembly and U.S. Congress to tell the story of members during the pandemic and stress the need for support of aging services.  The two separate meetings held this week were with State Representative La Shawn Ford (D-8th District; Chicago) and U.S. Representative Bill Foster (D-11th District; Joliet).

Special thanks to the following members who were a part of these meetings:

  • Michael Mutterer, Vice President of Patient Care and the Chief Nursing Officer, Silver Cross Hospital
  • Matt Boebel, Administrative Director of Post-Acute Care Services, Silver Cross Hospital
  • Kristin Hucko, Clinical Manager, Silver Cross Hospital
  • Scott Paddock, Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Silver Cross Hospital
  • Kimberly Wolterink, Manager of Post-Acute Operations, Silver Cross Hospital
  • John Larson, CEO, Cantata Adult Life Services

John Larson (LeadingAge Illinois HCBS Cabinet President), CEO of Cantata Adult Life Services, educated State Representative La Shawn Ford on his organization’s experiences during the pandemic and the needs of fellow aging services providers. Cantata has existed for about 100 years in Brookfield and provides all levels of care, serving 210 residents and about 750 HCBS clients. John has been in the industry about 30 years.

John thanked the representative for his support of the Temporary Nurse Assistant (TNA) Program and mandating insurance companies to cover “medically necessary” testing.  He also informed the representative of the struggles he and other members have had with acquiring PPE and the high costs of PPE. “It has been a troubling and stressful journey,” said John.

“The biggest issue, when COVID is in the rearview mirror, is the industry is going to need a lot of help to recover; both financially and operationally,” said John.  “A lot of legislative work will be needed moving forward to help the industry.”

Michael Mutterer (LeadingAge Illinois Board Chair), Vice President of Patient Care and the Chief Nursing Officer at Silver Cross Hospital and his team at Silver Cross told the story of the hospital and the experiences of their home health program to U.S. Representative Bill Foster (D-11th District; Joliet). Michael shared that at the hospital, which includes the home health staff, they were able to offer the vaccine to over 2,400 employees and volunteers (both Pfizer and Moderna).  Many staff have been through both doses of Pfizer vaccine.  “It has been amazing to help roll that out and help however we can to start to curb this.”

Michael also shared the concerns of the outstanding costs of PPE during the pandemic and the severe issues early on with acquiring PPE.  “Emergency preparedness for aging services must be developed at a much higher sophistication level. This cannot happen again,” said Karen Messer, President and CEO of LeadingAge Illinois, addressing the representative.

If you would like to hold a virtual visit with your legislators, contact Jason Speaks.

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Vaccination Update
Today’s Vaccination update includes:

  • Additions to the Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care FAQs
  • HUD Section 202 Senior Housing and Vaccine Clinic Forum (January 19, 2:30 p.m. CST; Register Here)
  • Recap of National Webinar on Worker Concerns About Vaccines
  • Vaccine Allocation and Hesitation through a Bioethics Lens
  • LeadingAge, Johns Hopkins Vaccine Town Hall Addresses Hesitancy, Safety concerns
  • Allergic Reactions After Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

Additions to the Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care FAQs:
The Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care FAQs have been updated to include, in writing, language LeadingAge has been asking for that spells out exactly which provider types a state may opt to include in the program. Here’s the language:

“LTCFs eligible to participate in the Pharmacy Partnership for LTC Program included skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities (residential long-term care facilities assisting and supervising primarily elderly residents in daily living activities and independent living skills), continuing care retirement communities, residential care communities/adult family homes, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities, state-run veterans’ homes, and similar congregate living settings where most individuals receiving care/supervision are older than 65 years of age.”

There is the issue of whether CVS and Walgreens can handle the additional workload.  Governors are the ones to work that out with CVS and Walgreens partners (in addition to whatever informal arrangements providers make with individual CVS or Walgreens partners).  Here is more info learned from the CDC this week:

  • Several providers have asked if CVS and Walgreens, when they are constrained by workforce shortages, can arrange with qualified provider community staff to immunize residents. The answer is yes, however CVS or Walgreens must subcontract with the provider community, even if it is for zero dollars.  It is explicitly written into the arrangements with CVS and Walgreens that they may subcontract.
  • States may designate provider communities to run their own clinics that have the resources needed and are willing to do the administrative reporting. Right now that involves freezers most providers do not have, but this will change over time as new EUAs are approved.
  • The CDC did not send any lists of providers to states. The CDC shared data from state publicly available databases from the regulatory agency for assisted living, for example, and told health department the data may be imperfect. Some states worked to get the lists as robust and clean as possible, others kept whomever had signed up. Unfortunately, many RedCAP forms were incomplete. And, states have had the ability to add or delete. We understand that some providers who filled out RedCAP are being told by their state that they were not on the list sent by CDC. This has to be resolved by the state.
  • A new Retail Pharmacy Program will be rolled out, possibly as soon as a few weeks, or maybe as late as the end of February. It will scale up slowly and expand to more onsite clinics (with additional providers, not just CVS and Walgreens) and will include more traditional long term care pharmacy providers.
  • What about a 25% cap? There is no 25% cap for anything. States are allocating 25% of what is needed for each week of the Pharmacy Partnership program to the program. If state allocation is 400 for a week and the state estimates they need 100 total doses for the program, the state would allocate 25 doses per week over four weeks. This was set up to help ensure the program does not sit on too much vaccine allocation, but the program also need to be given enough so they are not having to cancel or reschedule clinics. Vaccine allocations from states to the program are broken up over four weeks for Part A (nursing homes) and four weeks for Part B (assisted living, HUD 202, all else). Some states decided not to choose this allocation schedule suggested by the CDC.

Dr. Catherine Counard, Chief Medical Officer at the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) told LeadingAge Illinois this week that “because the uptake of vaccine has been low in LTC staff, which is across the nation and not just in Illinois, last week CDC recommended and approved offering vaccine to the residents of Independent Living facilities that are on a CCRC campus.”  She said that CVS and Walgreens implemented the change.  Independent Living residents of CCRCs that were already visited will be offered vaccination during the second and third onsite clinics. In Illinois, Independent Living residents are in Phase 1b, and there will increasingly be opportunities for individuals to receive vaccinations at community locations such as pharmacies, according to Dr. Counard.

HUD Section 202 Senior Housing and Vaccine Clinic Forum:
Join LeadingAge on January 19 to hear from the CDC, HUD, and Section 202 providers about COVID-19 vaccine distribution clinics. For its Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, the CDC recommended states include HUD Section 202 communities as “long term care facilities” in their earliest vaccine distribution strategies as part of the Pharmacy Partnership. Vaccine clinics conducted by the Program’s pharmacy partners, CVS and Walgreens, have begun. The January 19 Forum will feature remarks from and CDC and HUD, and updates and insights from housing providers who have hosted vaccine clinics through the Pharmacy Partnership, followed by an audience Q&A. Register here to attend.

Recap of National Webinar on Worker Concerns About Vaccines:
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences worker training program held a webinar Thursday directed at addressing worker concerns about the coronavirus vaccinations.  Topics included a very simple explanation of how the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work, how the trials were conducted, including demographics of study participants, importance of vaccines because we don’t really know long term impact of even mild cases, and an interesting discussion of the “Industrial Hierarchy of Controls” as related to infection control. However, the most compelling speakers were two of the first recipients of the vaccines, both African American, who were compelling in their urgent message supporting these vaccines, which supports the message of having trusted messengers to talk to concerned workers. One was SEIU representative from Holyoke Soldiers Home in Massachusetts, site of one of the early terrible outbreaks, who said “I did it for my veterans” so we can protect the remaining vets.  Responding to skeptics, he said, I followed the science, researched.  The virus, he continued, won’t go away until we all participate. And, finally, “I have seen it, I have witnessed it.”

Vaccine Allocation and Hesitation through a Bioethics Lens:
On one of this week’s LeadingAge Coronavirus Update call, national interviewed Dr. Ruth Faden, Professor of Bioethics at the Bloomberg School, Johns Hopkins University.  She covered vaccine allocation and vaccine hesitancy among other topics.  Here is a link to an article about the discussion.

LeadingAge, Johns Hopkins Vaccine Town Hall Addresses Hesitancy, Safety Concerns:
During this week’s joint vaccine town hall hosted by LeadingAge and Johns Hopkins University, vaccine experts addressed issues of safety, hesitancy, and messaging at assisted living and senior housing communities. The recording is now available here, and a summary of the event’s audience Q&A is available here. The panel featured William Moss, Director of the International Vaccine Access Center, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Dr. Ruth Link-Gelles from the CDC, among other vaccine experts.  The event accompanies two free courses recently released by Johns Hopkins University, in partnership with LeadingAge, covering pandemic preparedness and response for assisted living and senior housing providers.

Allergic Reactions After Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine:
The CDC released an MMWR on Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in the US. During December 14–23, 2020, monitoring by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System detected 21 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 1,893,360 first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (11.1 cases per million doses); 71% of these occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination. Locations administering COVID-19 vaccines should adhere to CDC guidance for use of COVID-19 vaccines, including screening recipients for contraindications and precautions, having the necessary supplies available to manage anaphylaxis, implementing the recommended post-vaccination observation periods, and immediately treating suspected cases of anaphylaxis with intramuscular injection of epinephrine.

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Provider Relief Fund Updates
We have the following updates today:

  • The next round of Phase 3 payments are still scheduled to go out the week of January 25. Funds will continue to be distributed into February as application quality review is completed.
  • HHS has still not issued Nursing Home Infection Control Incentive Payments for November or December performance yet. November payments are still pending OMB approval but once approved, are already scheduled to go out.
  • Reporting Portal to Open but Reporting Deadline to be Delayed. The Reporting Portal is scheduled to open today and members are encouraged to sign up once it opens.  HHS has also said it will issue a formal announcement that the reporting deadline will be delayed (first report, originally, was to be due February 15).  In addition, expect to see revised guidance and FAQs to also be released in the next few days to align with the new requirements from the Congressional COVID Relief Package.
  • Members with TIN Validation Issue. Nicole Fallon at LeadingAge has heard from members that there are some whose TINs weren’t validated through one or more of the General Distribution application processes – Phase 2 or 3.  HHS has told LeadingAge that they will have an opportunity to submit these TINs and provider information to them as part of another validation process.  Nicole will set up a process for members to enter their data if they are having TIN validation issues.

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Quality Reporting Trainings
CMS announced new trainings (that are not time sensitive) that are relevant to skilled nursing facility and Medicare home health members and quality reporting. The trainings are:

More information on the trainings can be found on the SNF quality reporting training page or the home health quality reporting training page.

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President-Elect Biden’s COVID Plan
President-Elect Biden released his $1.9 Trillion “American Rescue Plan:  Emergency Legislative Package to Fund Vaccinations, Provide Immediate, Direct Relief to Families Bearing the Brunt of the COVID-19 Crisis, and Support Struggling Communities.”

The plan details include:

  • For congregate health settings, it includes funding for strike teams for and increased infection control
  • A national vaccination program with greater coordination with states and localities;
  • Community vaccination centers and mobile vaccination units
  • Expanded public health workforce;
  • Expanding Medicaid FMAP for vaccinating all Medicaid recipients
  • Extending the national eviction moratorium until September 30
  • Providing a new $30 billion for emergency rental assistance, $5 billion for utility assistance, and $5 billion for housing assistance for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness
  • Funds for small businesses and safely reopening schools
  • Extending federal unemployment insurance
  • $1,400 direct payments per person

Read LeadingAge’s statement on the plan.

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Nursing and Rehabilitation:

Rates of COVID-19 Among Residents and Staff Members in Nursing Homes
The CDC released and MMWR on rates of COVID-19 among residents and staff members in nursing homes in the US. Rates of COVID-19 among nursing home residents and staff members increased during June and July 2020, and again in November. Trends in reported COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents and staff members were similar to trends in incidence of COVID-19 in surrounding communities. Increases in community rates might be associated with increases in nursing home COVID-19 incidence, and nursing home mitigation strategies need to include a comprehensive plan to monitor local SARS-CoV-2 transmission and minimize high-risk exposures within facilities.

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SPEED Project
The SPEED Project seeks to increase nursing home residents’ access to monoclonal antibody treatments by connecting the nursing home with home infusion companies and pharmacies that can assist in providing the treatment in the nursing home setting. The SPEED Project has updated their site. Take a look at their information. 

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Independent Affordable/Subsidized Housing:

Take the LeadingAge Quarterly Housing Survey on Vaccines, HUD Payments, and More
Following up on LeadingAge’s October 2020 survey of COVID-19 impacts on affordable senior housing, they hope housing members can fill out this quick pulse-check on vaccines, COVID testing, and HUD payments, and more. The information collected helps LeadingAge with advocacy at HUD and on Capitol Hill, helps determine the kinds of materials to produce for housing members, and will help you understand how your peers are doing when they share the results. Please take a moment and complete the survey.

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Section 202 Capital Advance Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)
Gail Burks, Branch Chief at HUD, informed LeadingAge Illinois his week that the HUD Office of Multifamily Housing published a Section 202 Capital Advance Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). There is $150 million available for construction, rehab, or remodeling of housing for low- and very-low income seniors and the associated Project Rental Assistance Contracts to support ongoing operations.

This program provides the elderly with the opportunity to live independently, but with important voluntary support services such as nutrition, transportation, continuing education, and/or health-related services. The closing date is May 26.  You can visit the Multifamily home page for the most recent Q&A and other guidance about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gail is a featured guest in our monthly HUD Member Regional Meetings, held via Zoom every third Thursday from 12-1 p.m. CST.  You can send an e-mail to RSVP.  We look forward to seeing you on the next virtual meeting January 21.

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IWISH Update
LeadingAge held a discussion with state affiliates and members this week on the IWISH program.  LeadingAge Illinois and members participated in the virtual meeting led by Linda Couch, Vice President of Housing Policy and Juliana Bilowich, Director of Housing Operations and Policy at LeadingAge national.  In the final FY21 HUD Appropriations bill, the IWISH demonstration program at the 40 sites was extended.  After the call, Linda had a discussion with HUD and shared the issues members raised and received some feedback.

  • Lack of, or Inconsistency of, Communication from Grant Specialists. At this time, Grant Specialists do not have any solid information to share. HUD is currently working with its Office of General Counsel (because the cooperative agreements have to be modified) on a notification memo to grantees and is putting this into final format in next week or two.
  • Using IWISH Funds in LOCCs as of September 30, 2020 and Vouchering Against if for “Business as Usual” Expenses. This is allowable if you had funds available at September 30, 2020, and you extended via the “no cost extension” amendment. If your site was not extended because of lack of LOCCS funds, HUD believes you will be retroactively funded for costs incurred after October 2, 2020 and you will not, ultimately, have a funding gap. This is still being worked out.
  • Borrowing from your Organization to Pay IWISH Expenses and Expect to be Paid Back from the $14 Million Two-Year Extension: Anyone who borrows/ borrowed against themselves to pay IWISH costs has to get the advance approval from their Account Executive (copy Grants Specialist in this communication), otherwise you may only be able to be repaid from surplus cash.
  • Will the Demonstration be the Same? HUD is working on a new plan for the program now. The contract with HUD’s Office of Policy Development & Research for the IWISH evaluation ended on September 30 and a new contract has to be configured. Data will be collected and an evaluation will be done of that data (per Congress’s directive), but what this precisely looks like may differ from the original three-year demonstration.
  • What Kind of Support will be Provided to Sites? HUD is confirming its expectation that some level of Technical Assistance support will be able to continue.
  • Questions from HUD: After three years in the demo, site staff shouldn’t have much need from a TA contractor, right? Are there support needs from sites, and if so, what kinds of needs?
  • If you Do Not Have a Grant Specialist: Please let Linda know and she will get that to the right staff at HUD who can match your site up with the right person. New staff have come on board and been reassigned and there should be no gaps now, per HUD.

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Contact Tracing Professionals Share Tips for Housing Providers
This week’s LeadingAge Housing Advisory Group call featured researchers from the Hopkins Center for Global Health, who shared contact tracing tips for senior housing providers facing outbreaks at their communities. The call also featured insight from LeadingAge housing provider members who have conducted contact tracing at their communities through their own initiatives or in partnership with local health departments. Thanks to everyone who participated and shared! The slide deck from the call, including risk reduction strategies and contact tracing considerations for housing settings, is available here.

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HUD Introduces Find Shelter Tool to Help Community Members Locate Service Providers and Local Resources
Gail Burks, Branch Chief at HUD, shared with LeadingAge Illinois a new tool from HUD that is “a resource that may be helpful to your members who may receive inquires from people looking for shelter and other services that we (HUD) can’t provide.”  The Find Shelter tool is a new resource developed by the Department to help individuals and families in need to locate nearby resources. Specifically, users can search for facilities that provide shelter, clothing, health clinics, and food pantries to those in need. Find Shelter provides mapping and contact information for these service providers and the site is optimized for mobile use.  The tool is designed to help community members serve their neighbors in need. Particularly during the coronavirus pandemic there has been a surge in Neighbors Helping Neighbors across the country, which has been an important force in serving vulnerable Americans. The Find Shelter tool will only bolster this effort get people the help they need. The site includes downloadable, printable posters and palm cards that can be displayed near public computers for individuals and families looking to locate resources.

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Member Spotlight: Providence Life Services
Providence Life Services has existed since 1914 and today has nine communities in Illinois, in addition to communities in Indiana and Michigan, providing all levels of care.  Their corporate office is in Tinley Park and their Illinois communities include Park Place of Elmhurst, Providence Healthcare and Rehabilitation and Saratoga Grove in Downers Grove, Victorian Village in Homer Glen, Village Woods in Crete and they have an HCBS program titled Providence at Home.

Scott Studebaker, Vice President of Ministry Advancement & Development, has been at Providence for over 35 years.  His first look at the industry was as a kid.  He said the industry has been a part of his life since he was 13 years old. “I grew up with my dad’s nursing home,” said Scott.  “I started in housekeeping.” He grew into his career and his work and experience have been valuable to his organization and to LeadingAge Illinois.

Scott is currently the Chair of the LeadingAge Illinois Public Policy Committee and the LeadingAge Illinois PAC.  He founded the PAC Chair’s Circle and helped make events such as the LeadingAge Illinois PAC Night at the Ballpark a success.  He has been a strong advocate for providers and residents, each year helping coordinate Partners in Quality legislative visits at Providence communities and attending legislative meetings in Springfield and in Washington, D.C. He most recently was one of the Providence staff that were instrumental in making a couple of our legislative virtual visits a success.

Scott is proud of his organization and says the great leadership and board of directors helps drive his work.  That leadership includes Rich Schutt, CEO, Bill DeYoung, COO (former LeadingAge Illinois Board Chair), and several others that have been leaders in the industry working at Providence.

“I am very proud of the character of our organization,” said Scott.  Scott explained that the passion and dedication the staff have at Providence communities shows a lot.  He used an example of Brad Fierce, Administrator at Providence Healthcare and Rehabilitation of Downers Grove, being at the community until 1 a.m. one recent night.

“We love and care for our residents and I am so proud of that,” said Scott.

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