Minnesota unveils 5 point plan for protecting long-term care residents, workers

Minnesota unveils 5 point plan for protecting long-term care residents, workers

Created: May 07, 2020 02:27 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Governor Tim Walz unveiled a new five-point plan Thursday, to provide more robust support to Minnesota's long-term care (LTC) facilities.

The Governor’s new five-point plan will be implemented in the coming days to bolster the significant work that has been taking place already within facilities and the public health sector. The outlined approach, as outlined in a press release, includes a range of priorities such as expanded testing, enhanced support for infection prevention, providing masks and other personal protective equipment when supplies run short, and ensuring adequate staffing even as facilities face significant numbers of COVID-19 cases among residents or staff.


The five-point plan as outlined by the Governor's office: 

Point 1: Expanded Testing for Residents and Workers

Issue new guidance on testing, screening and monitoring, with requirements for long-term care facilities to:

  • Institute consistent “active screening” practices for residents and staff
  • Expand testing to all symptomatic residents & staff, as well as facility-wide testing when a case is confirmed or when multiple people develop symptoms
  • Continue routine testing of residents/staff meeting specific risk criteria
  • Amplify, expand and accelerate work on facilities’ action plans for COVID-19 cases among residents or staff, including steps for dealing with many cases
  • Continue to ensure staff are trained on proper use of masks and other protective equipment

Point 2: Provide Testing Support and Troubleshooting

  • Work with health systems to create “strike teams” that quickly conduct on-site testing and necessary follow up
  • Coordinate with regional health care coalitions for immediate response and resources
  • Coordinate with Testing Command Center to ensure testing supplies move efficiently where they are needed

Point 3: Get Facilities Needed Personal Protective Equipment

  • Maintain state-managed cache of masks and other personal protective equipment for emergency use when a facility exhausts its supplies and is unable to restock
  • Push out needed equipment for facilities facing outbreaks, and make it available to other facilities based on availability

Point 4: Ensure Adequate Staffing Levels

  • Use a mix of strategies to get staffing support to facilities in crisis. These may include:
    • Utilize the COVID-19 fund and contracts to support “bridge staffing teams” of health care workers to provide temporary staffing
    • Aggressively advocating for increased state and federal resources.
    • Activating the Minnesota National Guard
    • Using databases to “call out” healthcare workers that can take on-call shifts
    • Using incentives to encourage health care systems to provide crisis staffing to facilities

Point 5: Leverage Partnerships

  • Partner with local public health to coordinate support and provide on-site technical assistance for facilities
  • Launch a new case management model at facilities, leveraging local public health and regional coalitions to provide guidance, monitoring and support
  • Make sure that facilities maintain strong preparedness plans, including plans to reduce disease transmission and limit exposure risks
  • Require facility commitment to reduce transmission by excluding ill workers and those testing positive, and by excluding workers with unprotected exposure

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