The folks at the top of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services have been busy. In recent days they’ve become busier – or at least busier in terms of planning and policy regarding COVID. Their activity has resulted in a flurry of COVID-related announcements. Let’s look:
Making Waiver Work
On April 21, MDHHS applied for an emergency amendment to their State Plan which would allow them to make temporary changes to a variety of “waiver” programs, including the MI Choice Waiver program that provides in-home care services to vulnerable elders (as well as Children’s Waiver and other important Waiver services). According to the news release, these proposed changes would include allowing more remote interaction with beneficiaries, paying more money to the people providing services in these risky situations, as well as relaxing the service requirements for these programs.
Putting the Brakes on Regional Hubs
Just one day after releasing policy that would allow for the creation of Regional Hubs to house COVID patients in long term care, MDHHS says that, at least for now, these hubs can only take transfers from other nursing homes. Seems they are concerned about being swamped. I guess that means COVID affected residents in PACE, Waiver, ALF and elsewhere will have to be managed in place for now.
The policy also says that all medically unstable COVID affected residents in LTC are to be hospitalized, unless they have an advanced directive that says otherwise. (Are they assuming that everyone in LTC lack the capacity to make their own medical decisions? It would seem so.)
At the direction of the Federal agencies, MDHHS will now require all LTC facilities to disclose their COVID cases on a daily basis. That includes nursing homes, homes for the aged, adult foster care facilities and assisted living facilities. Presumably that information will be made public. How the panic generated by these reports will play out will be interesting.