On August 25, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced changes that will allow better tracking and control over the spread of COVID-19. The regulatory changes implemented by the Trump Administration will require nursing homes to test staff, offer testing to residents for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and report results. This will support efforts on both a federal and state level to identify spread and better allocate PPE and other resources.
These new regulations affect hospitals, reporting requirements for labs, and physician and pharmacist orders for tests, although we’d like to call your attention to the main points affecting nursing homes. Here’s the main aspects you need to know:
- Testing staff routinely is now a requirement for participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs
- Frequency of staff testing will be based on the degree of community spread, to be announced shortly through guidance, that indicate the facility may be at increased risk for COVID-19 transmission
- It is required that nursing homes will offer tests to residents when there is an outbreak or residents show symptoms
- Surveyors have been directed to inspect nursing homes for adherence to the new testing requirements
- Noncompliance with the new regulations will result in citations and may even face enforcement sanctions based on the severity. This can lead to civil money penalties in excess of $400 per day, or over $8,000 for an instance of noncompliance
- Under the CARES act, new funding from the Provider Relief Fund can help offset the cost of testing
We highly recommend that you take the time to read through these new regulations and understand what they mean for your facility. This will not only improve the nation’s ability to track and prevent the spread of COVID-19, but will keep your facility in compliance and further ensure the safety of your residents.
To access the press release from CMS about these changes, please click below:
Trump Administration Strengthens COVID-19 Surveillance with New Reporting and Testing Requirements for Nursing Homes, Other Providers
To read the new rule in its entirety, please click below: