Covid-19 Delta Variant Delays Return to Normal

The Washington Post reported on Saturday, August 14th that families, especially moms and single parents, are facing new challenges to staying in, never mind returning to the workforce.

A lot of moms dropped out of the workforce last September as the school tear began. Now the “mom recovery” could be imperiled again.

The US census bureau reports there are still 1.5 million fewer working moms than in 2019.

Parents in the south-east are particularly hard hit.

Some economists are warning that the United States may be on the verge of a massive second wave of women dropping out of the workforce if the delta variant is not stopped. This would make the DSP hiring crisis even worse.

“I really do worry this will lead to a second wave of women leaving the labor force” economist Alicia Sasser Modesto, an associate professor at Northeastern University is quoted.

Click here to read the full article.

In addition, a number of association conferences for the fall have been cancelled, switched to virtual, or are implementing vaccination and masking requirements.

  • In Pennsylvania, a leading provider association has cancelled its annual conference
  • In Michigan, another association has switched its in-person conference to virtual
  • In Colorado, an association is still going ahead but with vaccination and masking requirements

Covid Vaccine Mandates in Job Listings Jump by 34%

The amount of job posts requiring a Covid vaccine were up 34% on August 7th when compared to the prior month, according to job site Indeed.

The jump comes as the Covid delta variant fuels a surge in new U.S. cases. Large employers like Walmart, Google, Tyson Foods, United Airlines, US Military and McDonald’s are starting to mandate vaccines for some or all workers, and more businesses mandate vaccination as they bring their workforces back to the office.

Some job ads aren’t specific. The ads ask for vaccination without explicitly mentioning Covid. Those listings are up 90% over the same period. “They don’t mean the polio vaccine. It’s so apparent [they mean Covid-19],” according to AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab who authored the analysis.

The jump in businesses requiring a vaccine for new hires also coincides with a record number of job openings in June.

Several big firms have also postponed plans to bring employees back to the office. Facebook, Amazon and Lyft, for example, recently delayed return-to-work plans into 2022.

The growing list of businesses mandating vaccination may normalize the requirement and lead other hesitant employers to do the same, Konkel said. That’s especially likely if the Food and Drug Administration grants full approval to one or multiple Covid vaccines.

EVV Details Published for Missouri

DSS/Sandata have published the first public specification for EVV in Missouri. The requirements are similar to those of other states using Sandata as the EVV data aggregator.

  • Providers need to transmit three files to Sandata before each billing
    • Employees (Caregivers)
    • Clients
    • Visits
  • The employee file must contain the Family Care Safety Register Number.
  • The client file must contain the Client’s Phone Number and the 8 digit Departmental Client (Medicaid) number.
  • Tasks (documentation) is currently required for 5 procedure codes.
  • Four main methods of EVV data captured are supported:
    • Mobile/GPS
    • Telephone/Caller-ID
    • Fixed Verification Device
    • Manual
  • Manual additions and edits need to have an “EVV Reason Code”. The EVV Reason Code must be attached to each manual addition or edit.
  • Manual additions, edited originals and replacement records must be identified as such (most states give providers a “budget” for the percentage of edits without an audit or denial being triggered).
  • The original EVV record cannot be over-written and must be available for audits.

Agency Workforce Management includes a Sandata Pre-Verification system to help providers minimize rejections, and standard reports that can be used to highlight “missing” information.

Agency Workforce Management automatically reports the percentage of manual additions and edits. The national average is currently around 15%.

Medicaid Funded Organizations May be Required to Mandate Vaccinations

About 1.3 million people are employed by the more than 15,000 nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. About 40% of those workers are not vaccinated, according to CMS data.

The federal government, and some states, began taking an increasingly muscular approach to boosting vaccination rates last month amid a plateau in vaccinations and the rapid spread of the Delta variant, including requiring all federal workers to attest that they have been vaccinated or be regularly tested for the virus. A slew of private companies have also since announced similar requirements for their workers.

The move comes as the more transmissible Delta variant now accounts for 99% of Covid-19 cases in the United States and as data shows a link between low vaccination rates in certain nursing homes and rising coronavirus cases among residents.

In the seven states in which less than half of nursing home staff is vaccinated, weekly cases were 7.9 times higher in the week ending August 1 than they were in the week ending June 27. Meanwhile, in states that have vaccinated a larger share of staff than average (more than 60%), cases reported in the week ending August 1 were only three times higher than cases reported in the last week of June.

“We have seen tremendous progress with low Covid rates within the nursing home population and I think we’re seeing signs that it is starting to tip the other direction. We don’t want to go backwards,” said Jonathan Blum, CMS’ principal deputy administrator.

Blum said CMS officials are “confident we have the legal authority” to implement the new regulation, noting that the law allows CMS to take action as it relates to the health and safety of nursing home residents.

“We are on a wartime footing here. We are leaning in to making sure we are taking the steps that we can to ensure the health and safety of Americans and we will continue to do so,” Johnson said. “Delta’s not waiting and so we’re not waiting.”

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