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DOH Provides Multiple Updates for Providers

(May 28, 2024) LeadingAge NY met with the Department of Health (DOH) and other stakeholders last week, and DOH provided a variety of updates, outlined below.

DOH Working to Provide Required Training

As we have reported previously, a new law reinforcing prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status takes effect on May 28th. The law applies to nursing homes and adult care facilities (ACFs). Among the requirements is the provision of staff training, developed by DOH, once every two years in cultural competency related to the legal and social challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) residents and people living with HIV. DOH is working with partners on the training and knows they are out of compliance. They will be providing more information shortly and are also updating forms for residents regarding the rights this law affords.

Nursing Care Plans Webinar to Be Held May 29th

DOH’s Center for Residential Surveillance invites providers to pre-register for a webinar scheduled for May 29th at 12 p.m. The presentation will focus on nursing care plans including foundation and expectations, process, and common citations. The presentation will be largely focused on nursing homes, but ACFs, hospice, and home care providers are encouraged to attend if available. Register here.

DOH is looking into being able to provide Continuing Education Credit for participation in these educational webinars moving forward.

ARPA Funding

LeadingAge NY inquired regarding the status of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for assisted living programs (ALPs) and adult day health care (ADHC) programs. DOH could not give an indication of when the funds will flow, but asked that we remind providers to wait to spend money until you receive spending guidance from the Department.

HCS Roles

DOH reminds all DOH-regulated providers to ensure that your Health Commerce System (HCS) accounts are up to date. With staff turnover, this is an ongoing challenge. DOH uses these roles to communicate, particularly in the event of an emergency. With hurricane season coming and severe weather becoming the norm, they urge you to ensure that all roles are populated and accurate, including your 24/7 contact. Bear in mind that this phone number should be different from your facility phone number. In the event that an emergency occurs in your facility, they still need a way to communicate with you. Accurate roles are also critical for the purposes of submitting certain required reports, funding applications, and retrieval of communications through the Health Commerce Distribution Management System (HCDMS).

Nursing Home Updates

Nursing Home PPE Inventory Regulations to Be Enforced

On June 4th, DOH will be measuring the personal protective equipment (PPE) inventory for nursing homes. The permanent regulations went into effect in February, and June 4th is the first time that they will be enforcing the regulations.

DOH has been collecting PPE inventory monthly for some time now. People with roles of Operator, Administrator, and Director of Nursing (DON) should have received a notification that they have a file to review for the inventory requirements available in the HCDMS.

DOH noted that in May, 13.5 percent of nursing homes were out of compliance, and only 55 percent downloaded their compliance file in the HCDMS.

Nursing home members are encouraged this week to ensure that you have access to the HCDMS and that you are in compliance with the PPE inventory regulations in advance of June 4th.

For background on this issue, click here.

DOH Poised to Release Next Round of Nursing Home Staffing Compliance Notices

DOH reported on nursing home compliance with State staffing requirements. Click here for more details.

VAPAP Guidelines Being Revised

DOH reported that they are revising guidelines for the nursing home Vital Access Provider Assurance Program (VAPAP) due to the reduced appropriation in this year’s enacted budget. We are seeking more information regarding these revisions. DOH directs providers with questions regarding their applications to email nhvapap@health.ny.gov.

ACF and Assisted Living Issues

DOH to Convene Stakeholder Groups Soon

DOH announced that they intend to pull together stakeholders to work on various ACF and assisted living issues. DOH is seeking input on how to streamline the licensure application process for ACFs and assisted living, so we welcome member insights on how that process can be improved. We will also take the opportunity to continue to advocate for a more streamlined approach to the safety plan submission process, which is done through the NYS Electronic Certificate of Need (NYSE-CON) system.

DOH has already invited LeadingAge NY to participate in a workgroup to inform the development of the ACF Respite program, which was established in this year’s enacted budget. The group will begin to meet in mid-June, with plans to conclude by the end of July. The group’s charge is as follows:

“To develop policies and an application process for the delivery of State-funded respite services to eligible participants and develop comprehensive supportive data and programming to inform ongoing and future needs, investment outcomes, and maintain necessary funding controls.”

Lastly, DOH indicated a plan to establish a stakeholder group regarding quality metrics. We presume that this is in response to the proposed legislation regarding the development of quality measures for assisted living residences (ALRs). While this Executive Budget proposal was not in the final enacted budget, this bill, A.5790-B (Paulin)/S.8865 (Cleare), requires DOH to develop ALR quality measures with the input of stakeholders. The bill addresses many of the concerns we had with the Executive Budget proposal, but we have been pushing for more time and for the inclusion of the Executive Budget language which would enable those with a national accreditation in good standing to have the potential to forgo State survey. As written, the bill requires reporting of quality measures to DOH by Jan. 15, 2025, and for DOH to share the quality reporting with the public by Jan. 30, 2025. A scoring system based on quality measures would inform the frequency of survey, with the top quartile on an 18-month survey schedule. The bill also requires public posting of additional information such as rates, approved admission/residency agreement, rent, and service fees within 30 days, and reporting to DOH by Oct. 1, 2024. The language requires DOH to take into account the different certifications (ALR/Enhanced ALR (EALR)/Special Needs ALR (SNALR)) and models (continuing care retirement community (CCRC)). Lastly, DOH must provide a report to the Legislature regarding quality measures for other ACFs by Feb. 15, 2025.

At the time of this writing, the bill has not been passed by the Legislature.

SNALR Voucher Program

DOH will be issuing a Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) to gather data regarding the cost of care for the SNALR Voucher program. The survey will be similar to the 2018 survey, and the data collected will allow DOH to update regional averages for the purposes of calculating the voucher amount for an individual. DOH will also be lifting the pause on processing applications for the program. As outlined in the budget, DOH will be developing regulations to govern the program, as the enacted budget transitions this program from a demonstration to a permanent program.

All ACFs Will Be Receiving Narcan

As we reported previously, DOH is working with the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) on a project to support ACFs in serving people with substance use disorders. Related to this initiative, all ACFs will be receiving an initial supply of Narcan from OASAS. The State agencies will also be providing education and information, which will be coming soon. If you receive a supply of Narcan in advance of this education effort, you can secure it until you receive more information.


LeadingAge NY speaks with the Department on a regular basis. Members are encouraged to share with us any questions and concerns, so that we can bring them to these discussions.

Contact: Diane Darbyshire, ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8828