Monday, April 20, 2020
Agencies partner with nursing homes to keep nursing home residents safe
On April 19, under the leadership of President Trump, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new regulatory requirements that will require nursing homes to inform residents, their families, and representatives of COVID-19 cases in their facilities. In addition, as part of President Trump’s Opening Up America, CMS will now require nursing homes to report cases of COVID-19 directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This information must be reported in accordance with existing privacy regulations and statute. This measure augments longstanding requirements for reporting infectious disease to state and local health departments. Finally, CMS will also require nursing homes to fully cooperate with CDC surveillance efforts around COVID-19 spread.
CDC will be providing a reporting tool to nursing homes that will support federal efforts to collect nationwide data to assist in COVID-19 surveillance and response. This joint effort is a result of the CMS-CDC Work Group on Nursing Home Safety. CMS plans to make the data publicly available. This effort builds on recent recommendations from the American Health Care Association and Leading Age, two large nursing home industry associations, that nursing homes quickly report COVID-19 cases.
This data sharing project is only the most recent in the Trump Administration’s rapid and aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More details are available in the Press Release and Guidance Memo (PDF).
On April 19, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued new recommendations specifically targeted to communities that are in Phase 1 of the Guidelines for President Trump’s Opening Up America Again with low incidence or relatively low and stable incidence of COVID-19 cases. The recommendations update earlier guidance provided by CMS on limiting non-essential surgeries and medical procedures. The new CMS guidelines recommend a gradual transition and encourage health care providers to coordinate with local and state public health officials and to review the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other supplies, workforce availability, facility readiness, and testing capacity when making the decision to re-start or increase in-person care.
The new recommendations can be found here: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-flexibility-reopen-essential-non-covid-services.pdf (PDF)
The Guidelines for Opening Up America Again can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/#criteria
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