Background

Supported by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Project ECHO is launching a National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network (the Network).

We are actively recruiting nursing homes and training centers around the country to join this interactive community of practice to collaboratively advance improvements in COVID-19 preparedness, safety and infection control.

 

FAQs about The Network

  • The Network will use the ECHO model as its foundation. ECHO is an interactive, case-based approach to learning based on adult learning principles. Weekly training sessions using videoconferencing technology are facilitated by small multidisciplinary teams of subject matter and quality improvement experts. Sessions combine short lectures that provide immediately usable best practices with case-based group learning. It’s an “all teach, all learn” environment, where community providers learn from experts and each other, and specialists learn from the on-the-ground experience of community providers. Learn more about Project ECHO.
  • Over more than a decade, Project ECHO has established a community of over 250 training centers (in our ECHO parlance, hubs) across the United States addressing a range of different diseases and conditions. These training centers or hubs include leading academic medical centers and large health care delivery systems in almost every state in the country. Project ECHO is recruiting over 100 training centers/hubs from our existing community and outside of it in order to be able to provide training to more than 15,000 nursing homes this fall.
  • Nursing homes will participate in a 16-week training and mentorship program in groups of 33-35 facilitated by a local training center.
    • The initiative will use a standardized curriculum developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, but each training program will evolve to meet the needs of the local nursing home community.
    • The curriculum will be updated weekly to reflect new evidence, innovations in best practices, and changes in the pandemic.
    • Training centers will cultivate a virtual community of practice among nursing homes to foster peer-to-peer learning and provide additional mentorship.
    • Training centers will also provide rapid response mentorship for any nursing home that experiences a sudden increase in COVID-19.
  • The Network and training centers will provide participating nursing homes with access to national and local experts in infection control, patient safety, quality improvement, and nursing home operations along with a library of implementation resources. The library will help nursing homes implement COVID-19 safety practices and include resources such as “how to” guides on helping nursing home residents with mobility impairments wear masks and translation of staff training materials and resident/family education materials into Spanish and other languages.

No, nursing homes are not required or mandated to participate.

  • Nursing home staff and professionals are dedicated to providing high-quality, safe care for the residents in their facilities. COVID-19 is a new and challenging disease that effects both residents and staff. Participating in the Network provides nursing homes with practical, useful information, skills, and resources. It also connects them to a virtual learning community of both specialists and their peers to ask and answer immediate challenges.
  • Participating in the Network is free.
  • Nursing homes that actively participate in the 16-week training will receive $6,000 in compensation in recognition of the staff time involved. This reimbursement is available to Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes eligible to receiving funding from the Provider Relief Fund and that have agreed to its terms and conditions. The vast majority of nursing homes are eligible.
Both Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes are eligible to participate.

The first several weeks of the training program include sessions on:

  • Personal Protective Equipment Best Practices for COVID-19
  • Making the Environment Safe during COVID-19 through Infection Control Practices
  • Minimizing the Spread of COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Clinical Management of Asymptomatic and Mild Cases of COVID-19
  • Managing Social Isolation during COVID

Training has already begun through a series of free webinars. Find the webinars on our Webinars page.

Hubs are expected to begin 16-week training and mentorship programs beginning the week of September 28th with new groups starting throughout October.

FAQs for Training Centers

Training centers are required to send at least one team member to Immersion and at least one team member to a project Orientation training. If your organization has already completed ECHO partnership documents and sent at least one team member to Immersion, you do not need to send someone to Immersion again. Notifications of upcoming Immersions and Orientation days are included in regular communications from Project ECHO.

We are experiencing a national crisis in nursing homes. The program aims to launch trainings as soon as possible for as many nursing homes as are interested. Training centers should be ready to launch at least one cohort soon after completing their subcontract and training requirements. All cohorts must launch on or before November 13, 2020, however, we will continue to respond to nursing home needs.

Funds distributed to training centers are under contract and cannot be used to purchase IT equipment. Federal guidelines state that if funding is used for this purpose, the equipment purchased is considered the property of the federal government and as such will need to be managed accordingly.

The funds provided to nursing homes are considered to be compensation, which can be used at their discretion and do not require budget approval.

You will be provided the complete curriculum, including the lecture portions, after you have signed your subaward contract

As soon as you have completed your subaward contract and before your first session IHI will reach out to you to schedule a call. They will work with you to assign a QI coach for your scheduled sessions. The QI coach will attend all your ECHO sessions.

If possible, we ask training centers to focus on recruitment within their own states.  For training centers in metro areas with multiple states, please discuss with Project ECHO team about local recruitment strategies. Please reach out to us for any recruitment outside your state.

If you have attended any Immersion training, you will not need to attend again. However, at least one member of your project team must also attend a project Orientation Training as well.
After cohorts are launched and attendance data is received, Project ECHO will provide a list of nursing homes that are available for additional recruitment in each state. Let us know if you need help with recruitment.
Many training centers have existing relationships with nursing homes in their region/state. We encourage leveraging these existing relationships, but also expect training centers to collaborate and synchronize on recruitment so as not to overburden nursing homes with redundant communications. Please reach out to your state nursing home association for assistance.
We ask training centers to begin recruitment efforts within their states. Project ECHO will continually assess the gaps that exist in other states and keep partners abreast of additional opportunities for recruitment.
We encourage training centers to reach out to their state associations for assistance with recruiting nursing homes. We have included a list of email contacts for association executives for each state.
Each training center will track their nursing home programs in a new version of iECHO, called iECHO for Nursing Homes. Zoom registration will also be used to gather participant details.
Marketing materials will be made available once your subaward has been completed.
Yes, we will provide a case bank for this project.
This federal contract strictly prohibits using contract funds to collect additional data beyond what is required.

FAQs for Nursing Homes

If you are unable to select your organization name in the sign up form try switching to a different web browser (Chrome instead of internet explorer, for example) or using a different device. The best way to find your facility name in the list is to start typing the facility name in the drop down box field and wait a few seconds as it is a large list and can take a few seconds to populate. If your location is not listed, type in “Not Listed.”

If you have already filled out the interest form you will be added to our list of interested nursing homes in your state. That list will be provided to training centers in your state to use for recruitment. A training center will reach out to you directly to get your facility signed up for the 16-week training and they will provide you all the crucial program details as well.

All training centers must launch their 16-week program on or by November 13th so you should be hearing from one very soon.

 

Signing up via our website is the first step in expressing interest in joining one of our ECHO programs. Once you’ve expressed interest by completing the form, you will receive information from training center(s) in your area with details and registration information for the nursing home project.

It’s important to make sure you’ve entered your email address correctly and make sure emails from ECHONursingHome@salud.unm.edu are not going into your Spam folder or are blocked by your server. Some training centers may use a mail service to send announcements about program offerings. If blocked, this may cause emails to bounce back which means you will miss important announcements about available programs. Please check your Spam folder.

Training centers have been authorized to work with nursing homes which may have challenges with attendance. We realize that emergencies happen and so we have asked training centers to ensure they provide alternative methods for you to access the training content.

The funds provided to nursing homes are considered to be compensation, can be used at your discretion and do not require budget approval.

We recommend you register via Zoom well in advance of the ECHO session/program, so that the training center can best prepare for the session. Training centers need at least 20 nursing homes to be registered in order to launch, so registering in advance will greatly help the training center to gauge interest.

Please do not share your unique Zoom ID with anyone else, as it is specific to your personal information. If you do share your log-in information, anyone who uses it to attend a session will appear as your name on Zoom. This can make it difficult to accurately capture attendance and may lead to confusion on the back-end with regards to compensation requirements for nursing homes.