On July 9th the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revised the April 24th : QSO Nursing Home Five Star Quality Rating System updates, Nursing Home Staff Counts, Frequently Asked Questions, and Access to Ombudsman (REVISED). This was to remind facilities that providing ombudsman access to residents is required per 42 CFR § 483.10(f)(4)(i) and per the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
The guidance added that if “in-person access” is not advisable due to infection control concerns and transmission of COVID-19, facilities must facilitate private, resident communication, if requested, with the ombudsman (e.g., by phone or through use of other technology). Additionally, the attached FAQ added to the question of residents staying in contact with others, that the facility must comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure residents are able to communicate effectively (such as an interpreter). If this cannot be provided onsite or by remote video, the facility must allow the facilitator entry into the home to interpret or facilitate communication with some exceptions. Screening and use of PPE can be imposed on these individuals for safe operations.
As always, HealthCap encourages you to manage your daily operations in a way that is in the best interest of your residents and staff. In the event this revised guidance poses additional risk to your center please contact your local ombudsman and/or general counsel for guidance.
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