HomeCare magazine knows that the coronavirus outbreak will impact almost every aspect of how homecare businesses operate. This page is a way to stay abreast of the latest developments surrounding the virus as it affects home health agencies, home medical equipment providers and the aging in place community. We’ll post news updates, industry developments, evolving risks and online resources as we become aware of them, so check in regularly for up-to-date information.

BIRMINGHAM, AL (September 23, 2021)—On Sept. 9, the Biden administration announced that staff at Medicare and Medicaid-certified “facilities”—including home health agencies and likely home medical equipment providers—will be required to have the COVID-19 vaccine. Homecare providers should work now to get health care staff vaccinated to make sure they are in compliance when the rule takes effect, the government said.   

CLEARWATER & SARASOTA, Fla. (August 25, 2021)—Empath Health has announced a policy that requires colleagues, volunteers and vendors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The full-life care provider serving Tampa Bay and southwest Florida provides care and support for those with chronic and advanced illnesses and/or those dealing with grief. Suncoast Hospice and Tidewell Hospice are members of the Empath Health family of companies.

WASHINGTON, D.C. & OWINGS MILLS, Md. (August 24, 2021)—Increasing the vaccination rates among home health workers is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) in consultation with industry leaders, estimate a vaccination range of 40% to 90% depending on the company and the discipline of the caregiver.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 30, 2021)—The American Association for Homecare’s (AAHomecare) payer relations team has been working with leaders at state and regional associations to direct relief from the March 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to the home medical equipment (HME) community. Those efforts bore their first fruit last week when MassHealth included a 10% Medicaid rate hike for HME as part of their plans to allocate Massachusetts’ share of the funds.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 9, 2021)—As part of President Biden’s commitment to increasing access to vaccinations, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an additional payment amount for administering in-home COVID-19 vaccinations to Medicare beneficiaries who have difficulty leaving their homes or are otherwise hard-to-reach.

CAESAREA, Israel (April 12, 2021)—Itamar Medical Ltd., a medical device and digital health company focused on the integration of sleep apnea management into the cardiac patient care pathway, announced results from a recent survey to health care professionals that covered sleep testing dynamics in their practices during 2020 and expectations for future use of home sleep apnea testing (HSAT) versus polysomnography (PSG) testing performed in sleep laboratories.  

ROSEVILLE, Calif. (April 2, 2021)—Always Best Care Senior Services, a senior care franchise systems in the United States, announced that it has been selected as the only primary non-medical organization to be awarded with a grant to facilitate rapid Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 testing that will further help to ensure the safety of caregivers, clients, patients and their families.

IRVINE, Calif. (March 19, 2021)—Masimo announced the U.S. introduction of softFlow, innovative pulmonary care therapy which provides nasal high-flow warmed and humidified respiratory gases to spontaneously breathing patients. The technology, available on the softFlow 50, offers adult patients high-flow respiratory support through a soft nasal cannula by generating a consistent high flow of warm, humidified air or air/oxygen mixture.

BALTIMORE (March 18, 2021)—One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Senior Helpers, a provider of in-home senior care, released findings of its “Seniors: One Year in Quarantine” survey, which explores attitudes and behaviors of adults aged 65+ since March 2020, along with their feelings toward the future. Surprisingly, a majority of seniors (72%) reported they feel safer and more comfortable seeing friends and family now, even without having been vaccinated themselves.