- Summary of Second Coronavirus bill. The President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law last night. Most important for LeadingAge members are the two weeks (100%) paid sick leave and extended (2/3) paid family medical leave to care for a sick family member. The provisions apply to employers who employ fewer than 500 workers. Those with 50 or fewer have the option to ask for an exemption if paying the benefits would jeopardize the viability of the business. The benefit will be paid through credits against the employer’s payroll taxes. Marsha wrote this user-friendly summary of these provisions which will be posted on our resources page.
The bill also includes a 6.2% FMAP bump in Medicaid and an expansion of SNAP benefits and senior nutrition programs.
- Letter to the Postmaster General. Cory drafted this letter to the Postmaster General pointing out the nationwide issues with mail delivery. Postal carriers are refusing to comply with COVID-19 screening (required by CMS, many states, and most providers) and insisting they must enter communities and deliver the mail. They point to a directive from the Postmaster General. The US Postal Service has said the Postal Workers Union won’t allow screening. As the letter says, “many of our organizations have large communities with hundreds of residents and their staff are stretched very thin right now.”
AHCH/NCAL, ASHA, and Argentum joined us by co-signing the letter. In addition to sending it directly to the Postmaster General this evening, we shared it with Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) who is aware of the issue and ready to take action. His office will also send the letter to the Postmaster. We asked participants on the 3:30 COVID-19 Call-In today to give us feedback on this issue and received dozens of comments. Providers trying to do their jobs under the most difficult conditions imaginable should not have to spend one valuable minute of their time dealing with a situation like this. We look forward to a quick resolution.
- Statewide Shelter in Place Effective Immediately: Tonight, the Governor announced a statewide shelter in place order, with no time limit at this point. He is clear that health workers, and I include all our communities in this, are an essential part of the care delivery system. He is leaving it up to you to decide who is essential to come into work, and who will be allowed to work from home and shelter in place. https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/
The Governor also announced the availability of PPE, with more than 21 million masks and other items available, and more being shipped to the state warehouse in Sacramento for distribution. He is coordinating these efforts with FEMA, the President and VP, and others. We will get more clarity on distribution to our member sites.
- LeadingAge California Upcoming Meetings: All upcoming meetings will be virtual through June. We will eliminate any non-essential committee meetings and will notify you in the coming week or two if you have an upcoming meeting that will be cancelled or postponed until further notice. We will move forward with board nominations and elections electronically in April and May, unless we deem it impossible due to circumstances. We will hold the May 18th board meeting virtually, but it will be a shortened business meeting. We have not made a decision yet on our Annual Board Retreat on July 29-30 at Silverado Resort in Napa but will decide in the coming month or so.
- Put in your PPE orders NOW: If your supplies are okay for now, but you expect to run out in the next few weeks, please put in your supply orders. According to information from our Value First GPO, (even if you are not using VF), your orders will be filled in the order they are received so you may need to order sooner due to shipping and manufacturing delays. Contact Amanda Jackson for any questions.
Resources: https://www.leadingageca.org/covid19-resources We have many resources available that consolidate in one place both national and state information. We have over 650 members accessing this information daily, and anticipate much more activity in the coming weeks/months. We will update this as frequently as possible. Please also connect on https://www.leadingageca.org/network and invite your staff to join this too. This is up-to-the-minute information, that will be helpful to your community. Going forward, we are going to do regular two minute videos that will be posted on our website, on social and in our LeadingAgeCA Connect communities, and will do 5 (short) Things You Need to Know every day.