In Colorado, more than 50 percent of the COVID-19 related deaths have been among older adults and people with disabilities who resided in high-density, group-living settings, like nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In order to reduce the spread of illness and number of deaths in these settings, the Colorado Unified Command Center (UCC) has launched a Residential Care Task Force.
The COVID-19 Residential Care Task Force has already completed or begun implementing a number of actions to immediately mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 illness in all high-density environments serving older adults and people with disabilities:
Monitoring and Testing for Disease Presence
Conducted testing of nearly 1,900 asymptomatic staff and residents at six nursing facilities and a veterans home. These efforts are part of a broader strategy to deploy targeted testing to settings without an outbreak to prevent asymptomatic spread.
Enacted a public health order that requires face coverings and symptom monitoring for staff and residents.
Working to contract with Colorado State University to expand testing to thousands of staff per week for eight weeks.
Enforcement & Education
Building out a platform to distribute education, training, and infection control requirements. Facilities will also report metrics through this platform.
Added nursing facilities to EM Resource, an online platform that will provide real-time data on resource and training needs.
Organized weekly webinars to provide training and assistance.
Beginning April 27, CDPHE has increased infection control surveys by 50 percent, greatly increasing direct technical assistance on infection control compliance.
Enhanced payments to support infection control compliance and provide compliance incentives.
Health Care Policy and Finance (HCPF) authorized an 8 percent enhanced payment for Medicaid residential providers to support infection control measures and stabilize staffing effective April 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020.
Requested from the federal government the ability to issue incentive payments from the provider fine-generated civil monetary penalty fund.
Created Rapid Response Teams to:
support testing of residents and staff when an outbreak occurs,
provide guidance on isolation, infection control, and cohorting (housing positive residents separately from the general population),
Required COVID-19 Prevention and Response Plans from all high-density residential settings by May 1st.
To date, CDPHE has received:
96 percent of the plans from nursing facilities.
85 percent of the plans from assisted living residences.
100 percent of the plans from intermediate care facilities.
83 percent of the plans from group homes.
Personal Protective Equipment
Sent PPE supplies, including gloves and surgical masks, to select nursing facilities
Anticipating a federal shipment of PPE to nursing facilities statewide this week.
Cohorting & Facility Isolation
Issued aggressive guidance on cohorting (housing positive residents separately from the general population).
Developing an IT solution to connect providers with staff. Connect to Care job matching site is expected to launch this week. This online tool is designed specifically to connect long-term care providers with staff or volunteers wanting to work in the industry.
Crafted guidance on all staffing, licensing, and certification flexibilities.
Partnered with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to recruit recently unemployed and furloughed Coloradans to work in the long-term services and supports industry.
The task force has identified additional key strategies and actions in each of the five target areas above, and aims to implement all of the recommendations as quickly as possible within the next 30-45 days.