CMS Administrator Seema Verma Hosts Virtual Roundtable in Detroit
On Thursday, July 9, 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 Detroit health care leaders, representatives from long-term care facilities, and other community stakeholders to discuss the impact of and response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in nursing homes.
The roundtable opened with a discussion about the devastation caused by COVID-19 in nursing homes in Detroit and around the country, and attendees expressed concern for the many ways in which patients in nursing homes are being affected by COVID-19 – the fear, the isolation, the separation from loved ones – and the effects the virus is having on nursing home residents’ quality of life. Administrator Verma conveyed that, as America reopens, CMS will continue to urge states and governors to fight fiercely for nursing home residents, to vigilantly oversee facilities, and to fulfill the needs of nursing homes as it relates to testing and other needed supplies.
Representatives from Advantage Living Centers, Ascension Michigan, Buena Vista Healthcare Consulting, Ciena Healthcare, HCR ManorCare, the Health Care Association of Michigan, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Institute, Michigan AARP, the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative, the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman, NexCare and the Wellbridge Group, and Prestige Health Care were in attendance.
On April 19, 2020, CMS announced the requirement that nursing homes inform residents, their families, and their representatives of COVID-19 cases in their facilities. In addition to this, nursing homes are required to report COVID-19 cases and deaths directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in June CMS made that data publicly available.
Please find a full 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 a 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 23, 2020 CMS released FAQs on nursing home visitation.
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