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NAELA Publications
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
703-942-5711
NAELA News Journal - NAELA News Online

Practice Management During an Emergency

COVID-19 Updates
April 1, 2020
U.S. Department of Treasury CARES Act Information
What the federal government is doing in response to COVID-19. How the Treasury Department is taking action. Assistance for small businesses. Treasury Department website.

Reverse Mortgage Appraisals and COVID-19 Response
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) authorized the use of exterior-only or desktop-only appraisals for home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) reverse mortgage applications during the COVID-19 event. This eliminates the need for the appraiser to go into older peoples' homes.

March 25, 2020
Medicaid Emergency Authority Tracker: Approved State Actions to Address COVID-19
This page aggregates tracking information on approved Medicaid emergency authorities to address the COVID-19 Coronavirus emergency. We currently include details on Section 1135 waivers and 1915 (c) Waiver Appendix K strategies, but will update soon to add additional emergency authorities.

March 17, 2020
Social Security Offices Closed And Will Only Offer Online Services
Starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020 all offices will be closed to in person services. This decision protects the population we serve—older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions—and our employees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 
Read more.

March 13, 2020
CMS Announces New Measures To Protect Nursing Home Residents From COVID-19
New measured designed to keep America’s nursing home residents safe from COVID-19 have been announced.
Read more.
 
March 9, 2020
CMS Issues Actionable Guidance to Providers About COVID-19
Information for health care workforce in Hospice and Nursing Homes protects staff and vulnerable patients.
Read more.
 
March 9, 2020
CMS Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease in Nursing Homes
CMS is responsible for ensuring the health and safety of nursing home residents by enforcing the standards required to help each resident attain or maintain their highest level of well-being. In light of the recent spread of COVID-19, we are providing additional guidance to nursing homes to help control and prevent the spread of the virus.
Read more.
 
March 9, 2020
Taking Reasonable Efforts to Prevent COVID-19 From Entering Your Skilled Nursing Center
American Health Care Association
The top priority at this point with COVID-19 is to prevent the virus from entering your nursing home given the high case fatality rate in the elderly, which preliminary data shows it at 15 percent or greater.
Read more.

Published March 3, 2020
The COVID-19 virus is causing disruption to businesses world-wide. NAELA has been asked to provide members with some basic information on managing their practices during an emergency. This is a constantly changing situation, so this information will get you started. As updates arise, we will post information to this web page.

If you would like to receive alerts when new posts on this topic are made, sign in to www.NAELA.org and go to www.NAELA.org/Knowledgebase to sign up for the Practice Management Topic Alert.

We hope that none of us has to enact these measures, but if the scenario does arise, it’s best to have a plan in place.

Securely Working From Home
COVID-19, like other natural disasters, is creating the need for businesses to be prepared to have their employees work from home. The following information comes from Ntiva, an IT management and security service consultants used by NAELA. Ntiva also has a Ntiva resource page for managing a business during an emergency. All businesses should have a business continuity plan in place, but in the absence of documented procedures, following is  a check list to make sure you have the basics covered.

• Start by ensuring all employees have access to high-speed internet access from home.

• Next, discuss how you will handle your business phone calls.
    o Are you able to forward your desk phones to employee mobile phones?
    o Can you take advantage of a softphone client? (an application that runs on your PC)

• Do ALL employees have access to a business laptop or will some employees need to use home computers.
    o Home computers will need to be set up in advance with your office software applications such as email and other commonly used applications.
    o If you use Microsoft Office 365, do you have enough licenses to either install O365 on home computers or have employees access Office 365 Online?

• Many organizations today rely on cloud-based services (Office 365, Quickbooks, Salesforce, DropBox, etc.) but others have on-premises servers with business applications and data.
    o Are you able to securely access those servers via RDS or VPN?

• Remind employees to take advantage of any collaboration tools you may have, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, etc.
    o All of these tools offer chat, video and screen sharing which will be extremely helpful to keep connected.
    o Make sure that everyone knows the preferred tool, so that you don’t have employees all using different apps.

• If you know you are leaving the office for an extended period of time, be sure to reset your password while you are in the office in advance of expiration.

• And finally, be on the lookout for an increase in phishing campaigns. Security experts have warned us that they are seeing an increase in phishing campaigns that are designed to capitalize on fears of the corona virus. Remind employees to be EXTRA CAREFUL about clicking on links to alerts, articles, etc!

A Few More Resources on Remote Work Considerations
5 Big Challenges of a Mobile Workforce and What to Do About Them
4 Strategies to Manage a Remote Workforce

Precautionary Steps for Employers to Consider
The National Law Review article, Coronavirus Outbreak Causes Employers to Consider Precautionary Steps, has valuable information for you if you have staff. It discusses sick leave policies, temporary travel opt-out policy, and the need to put policies in place uniformly.

Remotely Meeting With Clients
As you know, older adults are at a higher risk from COVID-19. You can set yourself up to provide remote client meetings, keeping your clients from having to leave their home to meet with you. Many businesses, including NAELA, use Zoom for remote meetings. If your clients are technically savvy, you can share your screen as well has have your laptop camera include you in the screen share. If your client isn’t up for that, this also provides you with a way to have a conference call with multiple users in multiple locations, which would be useful to loop in other employees and your client’s loved ones.

There are many more web conference software options.

This article from the Administration for Community Living, "What do Older Adults and People with Disabilities Need to Know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?" discusses how older adults and people with disabilities face higher risks of contracting the disease and/or experiencing complications, particularly if they also have chronic medical conditions.