The Department of Labor reported that 6,606,000 Americans filed for unemployment insurance benefits in the week ending April 4, 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic caused businesses to reduce or furlough their workforces. This was a very slight decline of 261,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised record high level of 6,868,000. The speed and scale of the job losses is unprecedented. In the past three weeks, more than 16 million people have filed claims. At its worse during the Great Recession, there were 665,000 first-time claims filed in the week ended March 28, 2009. That was second only to the week ended October 2, 1982, when 695,000 first-time claims were filed.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have taken numerous actions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This blog is intended to capture the latest announcements from CMS. For prior CMS summaries please click here. The following are the latest summaries and links to CMS for further details.
Last week, the United States claimed the top spot in known coronavirus cases. States across the country are issuing guidelines to stay at home; an increasing number are mandating a social distancing strategy with shelter in place orders. Seniors housing operators are cancelling all non-essential group activities and events. Essential activities like meals are being staggered to minimize contact with multiple staff members and other residents.
With the recent change in policy around Medicare reimbursement for telehealth services, and the escalating pace of the spread of the coronavirus, seniors housing operators can use support for telehealth as a way to keep residents healthy to maintain census, and also as a sales tool for future move-ins. As a follow-on to the NIC Spring Conference panel discussion on telehealth, experts shared their thoughts on specific steps seniors housing communities can take both during the COVID-19 emergency and also on an ongoing basis.