The Advocate - May 2020

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May 2020

Note from the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman


Since we began hearing the term COVID-19, we find ourselves in truly unprecedented times. Most of us are learning how to adjust to the COVID-19 situation as we go, and find ourselves looking for places to find guidance. In an effort to share information on relevant topics the OSLTCO has included a COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities webpage where we are posting information from the State of Iowa, the CDC, CMS and other sources. We hope that you will find helpful information.


For example, we recently posted guidance from Department of Human Services Iowa Medicaid Enterprises regarding stimulus check payments to residents in an effort to clear up confusion about the purpose of the checks and the effect of receipt of the checks on a resident’s Medicaid eligibility. The checks are for the residents to spend as they choose, and if spent within one year, do not impact a resident’s Medicaid eligibility. In addition, we recently posted CMS QSO-20-28-NH, that includes FAQ regarding facilitating communication between residents and their loved ones in the community as well as guidance about when residents go outside of the facility, and admission of residents to a facility.


Next week, nursing facilities will be receiving packets in the mail from our office containing newsletters and fact sheets for residents that we hope you will distribute to residents on our behalf so that residents have our contact information in the event that they need to reach out to us to get an answer to a question or to obtain assistance addressing an issue.


Thank you to you and your staff for your dedication and hard work in caring for those that this vicious virus attacks the most severely. I hope that in those times when you are disheartened and fatigued, you can remember the advice of Mary Anne Radmacher, who reminds us that, “Courage does not always roar, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”



News & Resources

An informal group of nursing home social work researchers and advocates (The National Nursing Home Social Work NETWORK) have pulled together information related to COVID-19  for nursing home social workers and posted it on their webpage. They are hosting weekly “Sharing/Support” groups on ZOOM (anonymously) for nursing home social workers.


CMS hosts COVID-19 care site-specific calls for nursing facilities on Wednesdays at 3:30. Please check the CMS website for further information.


Local area Chamber of Commerce may be receptive to using "Chamber Dollars Programs" as rewards to healthcare staff in your community. View the following article how chamber bucks are being used at Wellington Place Assisted Living in Decorah.

Resident/Tenant Rights


Secretary of State Paul Pate encourages Iowans to be sure their votes are counted and states to request an absentee voting ballot for the June 2, 2020 Iowa Primary in the following article. If residents and tenants need to request an absentee ballot go to the Secretary of State's website.



CMS announces CMP funds are available for facilitating virtual visits and applications should be sent to each applicant’s applicable state agency. For more information see the article in The Voice, Consumer Voice newsletter. Iowa Medicaid Enterprise will be issuing information about the process soon. Please check their website for the informational letter.


Highland Ridge in Williamsburg and Briarwood Healthcare Center in Iowa City have started pen pals with local children in the following article. "...This program can boost  resident morale, while at the same time helping kids practice their writing."


Adel Acres in Adel received special visitors walking around the facility with handlers. Additionally, Earl May garden center in Waukee is donating plants to decorate residents' rooms. View the visitors in the Local 5 News article.


Wesley Park Centre in Newton had a tik tok activity that brought out a dancing star, Dean Maytag, one of the assisted living tenants.


Residents at Westwing Place in Dewitt received a special visit from QC Musicians with their guitars outside their windows in this KWQC News Channel 6 video/article


Bill "Chopper" Pelchat, Iowa Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame recipient held a virtual concert. He continues to perform monthly at long-term care facilities. See this article by Siouxland Proud, KCAU News Channel 9.


Broadway musicals are available to stream on a variety of services. Broadway direct's website gives the musical listing and streaming service needed.

Resident_Tenant Health Safety Welfare


Emergency Preparedness: Caring for persons living with dementia in a
long-term or community-based care setting is a resource published by the Alzheimer's Association in response to those with dementia living through any emergency situation including the current COVID-19 pandemic.


CMS issued an electronic toolkit regarding telehealth and telemedicine for long-term care nursing facilities on March 27.


The CDC added new symptoms of COVID-19 in the following article.



Clark County Hospital in Osceola received state of the art ultra-violet disinfection machine called the TRU-D in the following article. This machine does not need a person present to disinfect rooms.


Iowa City company making and donating face shields in the following news article.


One week's worth of PPE will be distributed to nursing facilities across the nation from FEMA by July 4th to learn more about Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes view this article.


U.S. Food & Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the emergency use of Advanced Sterilization Products, Inc. for use in decontaminating compatible N95 or N95-equivalent respirators for single-users reuse by healthcare personnel in the following article and letter.


Xenex Disinfection Services using ultraviolet light for decontamination that does not damage N95 respirators according to the following article.


HealthySole has a new plus model (UVC-powered) shoe sanitizer meant for hospitals and health facilities learn about it in this article.

Managed Care Ombudsman Program

Medicaid managed care members may be eligible for a mobile phone please reach out to the MCO case manager to request a device.

Volunteer Ombudsman Program


VOP Statewide Conference Call

This month's statewide call will be held on Wednesday, May 13 at 10:00 am. Notes from the past calls may also be found on the website. If you do view a recording of a previously recorded statewide conference call be sure to email to receive one hour of continuing education credit.



New Webinar Series COVID-19 and Ombudsman Programs: Understanding How Trauma Impacts You, Residents and Your Advocacy is available for CEUs. The first of the four-part series was held on April 29 view the presentation and recording. If you attend be sure to fill out the VOP CEU form to receive credit.


The featured webinar/video this time is Meaningful ActivitiesBe sure to fill out the CEU form if you do attend.

Events & Educational Opportunities


Iowa Elder Law Webinar Series: The Golden Years: Dealing with Debt & Consumer Protection

VOP CEU Eligible

May 7 (11 am)

More Information | Register


Understanding and Advocating for Residents with Dementia

VOP CEU Eligible
May 19 (12 pm)
More Information | Register

To participate by phone, at the time of the program call (712) 770-4010. When prompted, enter the Access Code, 878277, followed by the pound (#) key.


COVID-19 and Ombudsman Programs: Understanding How Trauma Impacts You, Residents, and Your Advocacy

VOP CEU Eligible

Webinar series: May 20, June 17 and June 29 (2 pm)

More Information | Register


Iowa Elder Law Webinar Series: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Event

VOP CEU Eligible

June 15, 2020 (11 am)

More Information | Register


Identifying and Addressing Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

VOP CEU Eligible

June 16 (12 pm)
More Information | Register

To participate by phone, at the time of the program call (712) 770-4010. When prompted, enter the Access Code, 878277, followed by the pound (#) key.