Recent CMS Requirements for Nursing Homes
As of April 19, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CMS, have released new requirements for nursing homes nationwide in regard to the handling of COVID-19 cases. These requirements are meant to help control and prevent the spread of the virus. Note that the failure to abide by the requirements could result in penalties, which may include a fee of $1,000 per week.
There are two components to the new requirements. The first part requires long-term care facilities who participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs to report any confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the staff and resident populations. Suspected cases of COVID-19 should be reported as well as any residents with severe respiratory infection resulting in hospitalization or death. In addition, 3 or more residents or staff with new-onset respiratory symptoms within 72 hours of each other will require reporting. This information should be reported to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through their National Health and Safety Network (NHSN) system. CMS will put forth specific formatting and frequency to submit this data that may be available as early as next week. This self-reporting component is in addition to any required state or local health department reporting.
The second component to the new CMS requirement necessitates that nursing homes be responsible for notifying residents and their representatives of confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 as described above. The notification needs to be communicated within 12 hours of knowledge of such. Weekly updates, new cases, and outbreak updates are all required. The updates to the residents and their representatives should also include mitigation strategies put in place to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission. Ensure that you are following current privacy rules with each notification. It is a best practice to increase communication during this time. Providing information to residents and their representatives to reduce uncertainty and help clarify any questions that they may have, which will all assist with lowering anxiety and increasing trust at this time between the many stakeholders.
The new requirement put forth by CMS for nursing homes can be found here. Please reach out to your Safety Advocate if you have any questions regarding the new requirements. Updates to the rules will continue to be posted in our Coronavirus Resource Center.
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