COVID-19 Resources for Home Care & Hospice Agencies

To ensure members have access to information they can trust, the Alliance has put together a COVID-19 Resource Page, linking to federal, state, and other essential sources.


To ensure members have access to information they can trust, the Alliance has put together a COVID-19 Resource Page linking to federal, state, and other essential sources.

We’ll update it as new information becomes available.

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New Emergency Prep 4-Part Webinar Series

Agencies continue to struggle with the development of a disaster preparedness plan that will not only be in compliance, but realistic in an event. Areas of weaknesses in the process have been identified by CMS and accrediting bodies. On top of that, there were changes made to regulations at the end of 2018 and appeared in the 2019 interpretive guidelines. This series of one-hour webinars will provide in-depth knowledge of the requirements that home health and hospice organizations are subject to, with specific focus on: an overview of the regulations, starting the agency-specific plan, building the plan, development of policies and procedures, communication, and testing and training.

Program Goals: Through attendance in this web series, participants will increase their understanding of the newly updated federal emergency preparedness requirements that are part of the home health and hospice
Conditions of Participation (CoPs) and become knowledgeable in how to apply the federal requirements for disaster preparedness in their own specific agencies. Enhance disaster plan development for all community based agencies.

Following is the planned content and schedule for the live webinar sessions; for those who are unable to attend the live sessions, recorded sessions will be available.
Please note there is limited seating in the live sessions so please register early.

Part 1: OVERVIEW OF THE REGULATIONS – June 4, 2019, 1:00-2:00 pm EDT
Including Lessons Learned, Home Health and Hospice’s Role in an Event, All-Hazards Approach, Regulatory changes since 2018 and survey findings from the first year under the disaster preparedness CoPs.
Part 2: STARTING AND BUILDING THE PLAN, – June 11, 2019, 1:00-2:00pm EDT
Including Four Phases of Emergency Management, Incident Command System, and Hazard Vulnerability Assessment , Infection control and prevention, Continuity of Operations (Defining Essential Function, Succession Planning, Human Resources, Alternate Location, Defining Patient Populations, and Data Management)
Part 3: DEVELOPMENT OF POLICIES AND PROCEDURES – June 18, 2019, 1:00-2:00 pm EDT
Patient Classification Systems, Transportation Classifications, Surge Capacity, HIPAA/IT, Tracking Patients and Staff, and Roles and Definitions., Organizing the plan.
Part 4: COMMUNICATION/TESTING AND TRAINING – June 25, 2019, 1:00-2:00 pm EDT
Health Care Coalitions; Specific Hospice Requirements; MOUs; Government Emergency Telecommunications System; Collaborative Relationships with Local, State, Federal, and Indian Tribe Nations; Annual/Orientation Requirements, Documentation of Training, Types of Exercises (Tabletop, Functional, Full-scale), After Action Report, Revising and Updating the Plan



Good for all community-based, home care, hospice & Medicare certified home health agencies

Talking Home Care Episode 5: Barbara Citarella on Emergency Preparedness

Pat Kelleher talks emergency and disaster preparedness with Barbara Citarella, president of RBC Limited Healthcare & Management Consultants.

Barbara Citarella
Barbara Citarella

For the fifth episode of Talking Home Care, Pat Kelleher talks emergency and disaster preparedness with Barbara Citarella, president of RBC Limited Healthcare & Management Consultants. Topics include:

  • CMS’s 2016 preparedness operations requirements;
  • The unique challenges home care agencies face during emergencies (as well as their unique capabilities);
  • Lessons agencies can learn from recent natural disasters;
  • Home care’s ability to provide surge capacity for other health providers;
  • The biggest obstacles agencies face in implementing a disaster plan; and
  • Resources for agencies who wish to become better prepared.

You may listen to the podcast by clicking the play button above, downloading it directly, or subscribing through iTunes or Google Play. (Length: 32’45”; Size: 17 MB).


Talking Home Care LogoHost: Patricia Kelleher is the Executive Director of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts.

Guest: Barbara Citarella is the president and founder of RBC Limited Healthcare and Management Consultants, a national leader in the home health and hospice industry in addition to disaster planning. As the only recognized expert in the area of home care and hospice disaster planning, she specializes in emergency disaster planning, bioterrorism, health care development and operations.  She provides education to law enforcement and government agencies, health care providers, private sector, first responders, national and state associations in all aspects of disaster preparedness.

Don’t want to miss the next episode of Talking Home Care? Subscribe through iTunes, Google Play, or enter the following in your podcast app:

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CDC, Mass DPH Release Updated Ebola Guidance for Healthcare Workers

On October 20th, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released stricter guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) recommended for healthcare workers treating patients with the Ebola virus.

The new enhanced guidance from CDC is centered on three principles:

  • All healthcare workers undergo rigorous training and are practiced and competent with PPE, including putting it on and taking it off in a systemic manner
  • No skin exposure when PPE is worn
  • All workers are supervised by a trained monitor who watches each worker putting PPE on and taking it off.

These principles and other guidance listed on the new advisory appear to be geared towards healthcare facilities and are based on lessons learned from those hospitals and clinics that have treated Ebola cases in the US thus far, including Emory University Hospital, Nebraska Medical Center and National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.

Also on October 20th, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and Boston Public Health Commission released updated clinical guidance on sending in patient specimens for laboratory testing for suspected Ebola cases. According to DPH, prior to sending a sample, the facility should consult the MDPH Hinton State Laboratory Institute for specimen collection, handling, packaging and transport advice via the 24/7 lab number (617-590-6390).

More information will be shared as it becomes available.

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Ebola Preparedness Info and Resources Released by DPH

Through press conferences and announcements, state officials have repeatedly stressed that the likelihood of an Ebola case is Massachusetts is “very low,” but that does not mean local healthcare providers should not be prepared and the general public should not be educated on the issue.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has posted information and resources on a special webpage  with guidance for clinicians and other helpful information. Misinformation about the disease has caused some of the concern, but the state continues to monitor the situation.

Here is part of a recent Public Health Advisory:

Massachusetts is well prepared to handle an incidence of Ebola, in the unlikely event that a case should occur in the Commonwealth. The public can have full confidence that our hospitals have the expertise, preparedness and capacity to handle such a situation. The infectious disease controls in Massachusetts and the United States are world class. Should a patient present Ebola symptoms, the patient would be quickly isolated and treated to prevent the spread of this disease.

Please see the resources below that are listed on

DPH Guidance for Clinicians

General Information About Ebola Virus

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Disaster Prep – Is Your Agency Ready?

Home care agencies have unique responsibilities to their clients during disasters, epidemics, and terrorist attack.

But they also have unique resources. The simplest way to prepare for a disaster is to speak to your clients about the matter and to encourage them to take precautions and make plans.  A great starting point is the new Disaster Preparedness: For Seniors By Seniorsbrochure from the American Red Cross.  This handsome, 13-page brochure covers all the basics — with special attention to seniors including:

  • Building a disaster kit (including medications);
  • Planning an escape route;
  • Staying informed after a disaster takes place; and
  • Knowing what resources are available;

Best of all, the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health is making copies available free of charge.  Just download the order form, send it in, and they’ll send you up to 500 copies.

Even more importantly, disaster preparedness is vitally important — literally — for home care agencies. That’s why the Alliance partnered with DPH to develop the the Home Health Care Emergency Preparedness Handbook. The Handbookpresents Alliance best practices for preparing for natural disasters, epidemics, and terrorism. Contents include:

  • Standards of Care;
  • Infection Control;
  • Patient Tracking Controls;
  • Emergency Communication Resources;
  • Home Health Care Emergency Planning Resources;
  • Emergency Planning Training Resources;
  • Volunteer Opportunities

The Handbook also contains extensive appendixes on:

  • Hazard Vulnerability Analysis
  • Biological Weapons Agents
  • Emergency Policies & Procedures
  • CMS Altered Standards of Care

The Handbook comes in a three-ring binder and is available to Alliance Members for $25/copy, or $100 for five copies.

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