Additional Information on Emergency Rule re: Access and Testing
On May 10, the Agency for Health Care Administration issued
Emergency Rule 59AER20-2
related to access and testing associated with Department of Health representatives. Based on questions we have received from our members, we wanted to provide the following information:
The Emergency Rule requires assisted living facilities to
- Allow the DOH or its authorized agents entry into the facility for the purpose of conducting COVID-19 infection control duties as well as testing of residents and staff;
- Shall comply with all DOH infection control directives concerning staff and resident testing; and that
- When the DOH or its authorized agent enters the facility in its public health function for purposes of COVID-19 testing, assisted living facilities shall require facility staff to submit to a COVID-19 test.
While neither AHCA nor DOH has issued any clarifications or guidelines for interpreting this rule at this point, it is clear from the text of the rule as published that facilities must admit the DOH or its authorized agent and comply with any testing directives, including mandatory staff testing if directed to do so by DOH as part of its infection prevention and control activities.
At this point, facilities may still make their own decisions about offers of voluntary testing and may still reach out to their local health departments to request assistance with testing if necessary. While we don't currently have confirmation on how testing decisions are being made, it is likely occurring on a county-by-county basis based on DOH's
epidemiological data collection system through the Department’s contact tracing efforts for positive COVID-19 cases.