Press Releases

CMS Administrator Hosts Roundtable in Tampa on COVID-19

On Thursday, September 3, Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, convened a roundtable discussion with Tampa-area health care leaders to discuss the effect the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had on long term care residents and vulnerable populations in Florida at BayCare Health System in Tampa, Florida.

The robust discussion centered around the heroic efforts taking place to keep residents in long term care facilities safe during the pandemic. The Administrator conveyed that the Trump Administration is committed to protecting nursing home residents during the pandemic, and that the agency would continue to use every power at CMS’ disposal to protect America’s seniors. Thanks to Florida’s strong leadership, 97% of Florida’s nursing home residents are COVID-19 free. Participants described the innovative ways providers are using telehealth and the impact new flexibilities have made on patient care. The group highlighted how telehealth has contributed to a more resilient healthcare system during the pandemic.

In addition to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis, representatives from AARP, AdventHealth Physician Network, Avante Group, BayCare Health System, BayCare Physician Partners, Bon Secours, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, the Florida Health Care Association, the Florida Long Term Care Ombudsman, the Florida Hospital Association, HCA Healthcare, Orchard Ridge Nursing Facility, and Tampa General Hospital participated in the discussion and shared their experiences and insights on the fight against COVID-19.

Below is a list of CMS public health actions for nursing homes on COVID-19 to date:

February 6 - CMS took action to prepare the nation’s healthcare facilities for the COVID-19 threat.

March 4 - CMS issued new guidance related to the screening of entrants into nursing homes.

March 10 - CMS issued guidance related to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

March 13 CMS issued guidance for a nationwide restriction on nonessential medical staff and all visitors.

March 20 - CMS announced a suspension of routine inspections, and an exclusive focus on immediate jeopardy situations and infection control inspections.

March 30- CMS announced that hospitals, laboratories, and other entities can perform tests for COVID-19 on people at home and in other community-based settings outside of the hospital – including nursing homes.

April 2- CMS issued call to action for nursing homes and state and local governments reinforcing infection control responsibilities and urging leaders to work closely with nursing homes on access to testing and PPE. 

April 15 - CMS announced the agency will nearly double payment for certain lab tests that use high-throughput technologies to rapidly diagnose large numbers of COVID-19 cases.

April 19- CMS announced it will require nursing homes to report cases of COVID-19 to all residents and their families, as well as directly to the CDC. On April 30, 2020, CMS codified this guidance. 

April 30 - CMS awarded a contract which includes a new Commission to advise the contractor for reporting to CMS on addressing patient safety in safety and quality in nursing homes.

May 6 - CMS issued guidance in an Interim Final rule that updates reporting requirements for nursing homes to notify confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases among residents and staff. 

May 18 - CMS issued guidance for state and local officials on the reopening of nursing homes.

June 1 - CMS issued guidance to states on COVID-19 survey activities, CARES Act funding, enhanced enforcement for infection control deficiencies, and quality improvement activities in nursing homes. CMS also issued a letter to governors.

June 4 - CMS posted first set of underlying COVID-19 nursing home data and results from targeted inspections conducted by the agency since March 4, 2020 linked on Nursing Home Compare.

June 19 - CMS announced membership of Independent Coronavirus Commission on Safety and Quality in nursing homes.

June 23, 2020 - CMS released FAQs on nursing home visitation.  

June 25, 2020 - CMS released a memo announcing the end of the emergency blanket waiver for the nursing home staffing data submission requirement.

July 10, 2020 - CMS announced it will deploy Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) across the country to provide immediate assistance to nursing homes in hotspot areas.

July 14, 2020 - HHS and CMS announced initiative for rapid point-of-care diagnostic devices and tests in nursing homes. 

July 22, 2020 - CMS announced several new initiatives designed to protect nursing home residents from COVID-19, including new funding, enhanced testing and additional technical assistance and support.

Aug. 7, 2020 - HHS announced the distribution of $5 billion in Provider Relief Funds, consistent with the Administration’s announcement in late July, which will be used to protect residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities from the impact of COVID-19.

Aug. 14, 2020 - CMS released nursing home enforcement actions during pandemic. 

Aug. 24, 2020- CMS issues informational bulletin on Medicaid Reimbursement Strategies to Prevent Spread of COVID-19 in Nursing Facilities

Aug. 25, 2020- CMS announced an unprecedented national nursing home training program for frontline nursing home staff and nursing home management.

Aug. 25, 2020- CMS strengthens COVID-19 Surveillance with New Reporting and Testing Requirements for Nursing Homes, Other Providers. On Aug. 26, CMS posted guidance for the new requirements.



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