The University of Kansas Medical Center has announced that it has been chosen as a training center in Kansas for a nationwide interactive virtual initiative that will share best practices to improve COVID-19 infection control, safety and preparedness in skilled-nursing facilities.
This effort will leverage the existing KU Medical Center Project ECHO program and staff to lead this 16-session program using an “all-teach, all-learn” approach that has proven successful in dealing with multiple health issues, according to the announcement from KU Medical Center.
A $360,000 grant to KU Medical Center’s Project Echo supports the project in Kansas. The new network is being created under an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality contract worth up to $237 million that is part of the nearly $5 billion Provider Relief Fund authorized earlier this year under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“Nursing-home workers are front-line workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Shawna Wright, licensed psychologist, principal investigator for the KU Medical Center site of the Nursing Home ECHO Project and associate director of the KU Medical Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth. “They have risen to the occasion, and they are under stress. Project ECHO is the ideal training and support approach to provide the most up-to-date information for preventing and treating COVID-19 in the nursing-home setting. Live COVID-19 safety training will be delivered directly to the nursing homes at times that are most convenient for them.”
Nearly 70 institutions have registered to participate in Kansas, though the goal is to have at least 100 statewide. All skilled-nursing facilities are encouraged to participate in this free training, and Medicare- or Medicaid-certified facilities are eligible to receive a $6,000 incentive to participate. Nursing homes have until Nov. 9 to register, though the program begins delivery Nov. 4.
“The pandemic has wreaked havoc in skilled-nursing facilities across the nation,” said Rebeka Jones, licensed nursing home administrator, Hutchinson Health and Rehab. “Our skilled nursing facility will continue its efforts to provide the highest quality care, and ECHO will assist us in assuring we are totally prepared to face this new challenge. We are incredibly excited to participate in this program.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, have experienced a disproportionate share of deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most recently available data show long-term care facilities account for 8% of all coronavirus cases but more than 40% of all COVID-19 deaths.
In Kansas, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), there have been 2,011 total cases of COVID-19 among nursing-home residents with 364 deaths, as of Oct. 18.
Wyandotte County currently has one long-term care facility on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s active outbreak list, with 12 cases in the past 14 days, at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/160/COVID-19-in-Kansas. In all, there were 76 cases at that location with 14 deaths, according to the Unified Government’s outbreak map on the COVID-19 hub at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/.
Another nursing home in Wyandotte County earlier this year had a total of 132 COVID-19 cases, with 36 deaths, and is no longer on the active outbreak list.
KU Medical Center’s Project ECHO team has assembled three specialty teams to facilitate the ECHO (one for each group, or cohort of facilities participating). Each specialty team includes a geriatrician, an advanced-practice provider, a pharmacist and a behavioral health specialist – all with experience in skilled nursing and/or long-term care.
“The Kansas Health Care Association (KHCA) is pleased to be a part of the recruiting effort for the ECHO program,” said Linda MowBray, KHCA president and CEO. “This valuable method of mentoring, instructing and guiding long-term care to help improve their practices for infection control is well worth the 60- to 90-minute time commitment required to participate. KHCA is strongly encouraging Kansas long-term care facilities to sign up and be part of the solution.”
For more information on the AHRQ ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network, see details online at https://hsc.unm.edu/echo/institute-programs/nursing-home/pages/.
Cases in Wyandotte County increase by 85
Wyandotte County reported 85 additional COVID-19 cases on Saturday, for a cumulative total of 8,401, according to the Unified Government COVID-19 webpage. There were no additional deaths reported, for a cumulative total of 165. (https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/8781f01908d8403e9273d78e66e6219b)
The MARC Kansas City Region COVID-19 hub reported 57,346 total cumulative COVID-19 cases and 832 total deaths on Saturday for the nine-county Greater Kansas City area. The average daily number of cases was 481, up from 382 last week. The average daily deaths this week were 6.7, up from 4.9 last week. The average daily number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital was 425, up from 381 last week. (https://marc2.org/covidhub/)
Second Hutchinson inmate dies
A second Hutchinson Correctional Facility resident who had COVID-19 has died, according to a statement from the Kansas Department of Corrections.
The resident died Thursday, Oct. 19. His was the eighth KDOC resident death related to COVID-19, according to the statement.
The resident tested positive for the virus on Oct. 16 and was transferred to a hospital on Oct. 19. He was a 50-year-old male with underlying medical concerns that contributed to his condition, according to the statement. He was serving a 195-month sentence for aggravated criminal sodomy and had been imprisoned since September 2015, according to the statement.
His name was not released.
The UG COVID-19 webpage is at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.
For more information about the new Health Department testing site at the former Kmart location, visit https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/10092020_newtestingsitewyco.pdf.
The KDHE’s COVID-19 webpage is at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/.
The Unified Government COVID-19 hub outbreak map is at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/.
To see an NEA list of schools that have had COVID-19 cases, visit https://app.smartsheet.com/b/publish?EQBCT=aa3f2ede7cb2415db943fdaf45866d2f.
The KC Region COVID-19 Hub dashboard is at https://marc2.org/covidhub/.
The CDC’s COVID-19 webpage is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.