The Lead June 1, 2023

From the Desk of Angela Schnepf, President and CEO

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has issued their updated COVID guidance for nursing homes. The IDPH guidance for assisted living, supportive living, and sheltered care is in the approval process and should be released soon as well. The red highlighted areas in this document are the updates. IDPH held a webinar to preview this guidance. You can hear the recording here and view the slides here. A webinar for the guidance for assisted living, supportive living, and sheltered care will be scheduled soon..

Kindest regards,


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Top Stories
Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs)
LeadingAge Illinois will meet with the Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) Advisory Committee on issues and concerns of members. We are now gathering any member issues or concerns related to:

Prevention of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance.
Concerns or thoughts on what the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is doing to combat healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance.
What additional actions can IDPH take for prevention.

You can send any responses or additional questions or concerns to Jason Speaks, director of government relations, by June 2, 2023.

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Adult Day Rate Increase Passes
The Medicaid Omnibus bill (SB1298) for the Illinois State Budget passed both houses late on the last night of the legislative session. The bill (page 227) included LeadingAge Illinois’ Adult Day Services rate increase language from HB3223 (Rep. Lindsey LaPointe):

Subject to federal approval, beginning on January 1, 2024, rates for adult day services shall be increased to $16.84 per hour and rates for each way transportation services for adult day services shall be increased to $12.44 per unit.

The Governor also highlighted the increase in his Illinois State Budget press release.

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Medicaid Ready to Renew Toolkit
The Ready to Renew messaging toolkit be found at the Ready to Renew Toolkit Webpage of HFS or document from IAMHP. You can use these materials through your communication channels to help people who use Medicaid get ready to renew their coverage.

This week, Governor Pritzker held a press conference to reaffirm Illinois’ commitment to protect coverage for eligible Medicaid customers, as annual eligibility verifications resume. Medicaid customers haven’t been through a redetermination in over three years, which is why it’s so important that they’re ready when their renewal date comes up. We are firmly committed to offering as much assistance as customers need to get through this process because the State wants everyone who is eligible for Medicaid to continue to be covered, without any disruption. Click here for the full press release.

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LeadingAge 2023 Continuing Care at Home (CCaH) Virtual Conference June 12-13
Illinnois passed LeadingAge Illinois’ legislation to allow providers to offer Continuing Care at Home (CCaH). Continuing Care at Home programs work for the greater good of their members, by providing the support and resources needed to help older adults age in their homes. If you are considering starting a program, we invite you to join other CCaH programs and industry experts at this virtual conference specifically focused on CCaH issues. There will be opportunities to network with other CCaH programs as well as get ideas and answers from experts in the field. Register here.

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CNA Week 2023 is June 15-21
CNA Week is June 15-21, 2023. Every year, CNA week is a time set aside to celebrate and recognize the important work that CNAs do all year long. This special week allows other healthcare providers, family members, friends of patients who are cared for by CNAs every day in hospitals or nursing homes across America to show their appreciation with gifts such as cards or flowers from local nurseries. It also gives us an opportunity to observe some wonderful things that they have done over the course of their careers spent caring for people at their most vulnerable moments – in times when we may need them more than ever before.

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CMS Ends Staff Vax Mandate and Finalizes Certain Other Provisions for Nursing Homes
On May 31, CMS posted for public inspection a final rule in the Federal Register that ends the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for staff in CMS-certified settings. The rule, “Medicare and Medicaid Programs: Policy and Regulatory Changes to the Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Requirements; etc.,” will go into effect 60 days after the date of official publication in the Federal Register which is currently scheduled for June 5. CMS will NOT be enforcing staff vaccination requirements between now and the effective date of this rule. The rule finalizes provisions of the May 2021 interim final rule requiring nursing homes to educate residents and staff on COVID-19 vaccination and offer or assist with accessing COVID-19 vaccination for any residents and staff who accept. The rule also removes expired language from the May 2020 testing rule that expired with the end of the public health emergency. LeadingAge reminds members that testing for COVID is still required in accordance with “accepted national standards” under 42 CFR Section 483.80 Infection Control. LeadingAge is working to release a more comprehensive review of this final rule in the coming days.

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Estimated Quality Incentive Payments and Resource Limits
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has posted the Nursing Facility Estimated Quality Incentive Payments Listing for July 1, 2023, CNA Data Collection History Chart 05-24-23, & Staffing Add-On and Medicaid Utilization Calculations Effective April 1, 2023.

HFS also sent a reminder on the Resource Limit Increase.

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Mental Health Resources
Throughout this most trying time, maintaining mental health can be a challenge. Through the Lead, we will be sharing resources and information on mental health as well as speaking with legislators and regulators on assistance needed in our member communities. The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) has many resources for mental health, some of which are income-based and others for the general community.

The White House released a fact sheet on all of the Administration’s efforts to date on their strategy to address the National Mental Health Crisis.

Click here for the LeadingAge Mental Well Being Resources

Mental health apps offer basic features

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Become a 2023 LeadingAge Illinois PAC Partner
With our industry still recovering from the painful impact COVID has made and our workforce in crisis, our 2023 advocacy is critical to providing solutions for providers, staff, and most importantly residents. Building on our successful PAC Campaign from last year, we must push forward and leverage our PAC to educate legislators to reduce burdens and implement our solutions. These include:

Promote workforce development in all settings. This work includes:

  • Nurse Licensure Compact
  • Medication Aides
  • Allowing Direct Support Persons to work in Supportive Living to provide personal care and services.
  • Amending the Health Care Worker Background Check Act to allow communities to hire individuals with certain disqualifying convictions to work in long term care without a waiver when a specific amount of time has surpassed since their conviction.

Pass legislation to create a Continuing Care at Home program.

Remove language from the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Act prohibiting a person from being accepted for residency to an assisted living establishment if the person requires sliding scale insulin administration.

Secure a rate increase for Adult Day Services.

Pass legislation to require the Governor to establish an Assisted Living and Shared Housing Advisory Board to include provider representatives, advocates, and other stakeholders to discuss assisted living issues and rules.

Add Resident Attendants to the list of direct care staff to provide an accurate depiction of direct care services within skilled nursing facilities.

Advocate for our proposed revisions to the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Establishments Code.

Defeat legislation that would change entrance fee contracts for life plan communities.

Each contribution, no matter how small, makes a difference. Like our voices, our contributions collectively make a significant difference in providing the ability to influence public policy related to aging services.

There are a number of ways to engage in the LeadingAge Illinois PAC.

  • Monthly Contribution (most popular). You can contribute smaller amounts each month, spreading your total contribution over the year. Select “make this a monthly donation” when processing your payment.
  • Make a one-time contribution – Visit our webpage online to make a one-time contribution. 
  • Chair’s Circle. Along with maintaining a sound presence for the LeadingAge Illinois PAC, an annual contribution of $500 qualifies you for our Chair’s Circle!! Chair Circle members receive special recognition at LeadingAge Illinois events as well as making our PAC the strongest ever. You can make your chair’s circle contribution all at once or monthly by checking the box that says “make this a monthly donation.” Contribute online now.

*Nonprofit 501c(3) organizations cannot by law fund the PAC with a corporate check. Donations must come from individual contributions. We recommend sharing this communication with your staff to encourage personal contributions.

**Contributions to PAC are not deductible as charitable contributions for tax purposes.

***A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available on the Board’s official website or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.

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Get Connected! Emerging Leaders Lunch & Learn
Please join the June 16 Lunch & Learn from 12-1pm CT, featuring guest speaker, Melanie Sheckels, RN, Threshold Doula, who will join us to share how to support the dying and their families, educating and building community around death and grief.

Not yet a member of the Emerging Leaders group? Join Now!

If you’re a LeadingAge Illinois member and are interested in growing your leadership skills and peer network, join the Emerging Leaders group, Join us for a monthly Emerging Leaders Lunch & Learn on the “Final Friday” (last Friday of each month) from 12pm-1pm.  See the full 2023 Lunch & Learn schedule.

The Emerging Leaders group is brought to you by LeadingAge Illinois in collaboration with Emma Imes, Director, Strategic Initiatives of Mather and Laura Edwards, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation, ClarkLindsey.

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Market Trends Quarterly Report
Value First is committed to providing LeadingAge Illinois members with a trustworthy source of reliable information on market conditions that impact senior living communities. This quarterly report can be a valuable tool for managing your food program. You can request a copy by contacting your Value First purchasing consultant Terry Romin at 630.789.0574.

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Illinois Aging Services Network (ILASN)
All LeadingAge Illinois non-profit long-term care provider members are encouraged to apply for membership with our partner, Illinois Aging Services Network (ILASN), a network of non-profit, post-acute, long-term care providers banding together to navigate the changes to reimbursement. All LeadingAge Illinois for-profit members are welcome to participate in ILASN as subcontracting entities.

ILASN is made up of LeadingAge Illinois, not-for-profit, post-acute long-term care providers that have joined together to create a specialized network, ILASN, whose mission is to maximize the health and well-being of seniors through innovative, cost-effective care management practices; quality improvement activities, and contracting relationships with health plans and health delivery systems. In order to join as a member of the ILASN network, you must be a member of LeadingAge Illinois.

Learn more about ILASN’s Member Benefits

Apply for ILASN Membership today!

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IDPH Webinars for Long Term Care and Congregate Settings
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to host weekly webinars on COVID-19 issues where you can hear the latest updates and resources and ask questions of the Department. Attendees receive the webinar recording and slides after each webinar. We also place them in The Lead. All webinars are on Fridays from 1:00-2:00 pm CST. We strongly encourage that you and staff attend these webinars.

May 25 Recording

June 2

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LeadingAge Assisted Living Member Network Meeting
LeadingAge is hosting online updates that will occur Mondays and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m. CST. Subscribe to “LeadingAge Need to Know” via communications preferences in your MyLeadingAge account to receive email updates. Register for the online updates to add these calls to your calendar. You can find an archive of all member updates here.

Monday, June 5, hear Amanda Young, Executive Director of Wesley at Home, a Continuing Care at Home program, as she discusses defining, implementing, and evaluating care coordination in a CCaH program. On Wednesday, June 7, Travis Gleinig, Chief Information Officer at the United Methodist Communities will talk about how members can use digital transformation to improve productivity and resident/employee experience and drive innovation. On Monday, June 12, understand how staff recognition can improve the quality of care in aging services settings. Dr. Kathleen Weissberg, Professor at Gannon University will discuss her research in this area and offer tips on how to implement programs that drive quality improvement in aging services.

Also, if you’re a member of both LeadingAge Illinois and LeadingAge National, stay connected with other LeadingAge National Members and share information and resources through the MyLeadingAge Member Community: COVID-19. This is a place to connect with your peers to share and discuss everyday practices related to the coronavirus virus. Take a moment now to log into your account and join the group to stay connected. LeadingAge also has a COVID-19 webpage with the latest updates, information and resources for members.

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