Coronavirus Update #129
I mportant Survey re. PPE
Additional Updates including Directive and Order for Assisted Living

As we shared last week, the Maryland Department of Health released this memorandum.

We are working to determine if nursing homes have adequate PPE to meet the standards of the memo. Please fill out this simple yes/no survey once per center as soon as possible. This survey is for nursing homes only.
Memo Text and Links

This memo provides information regarding the second round of nursing home testing. Based on CDC guidance, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) Guidance for Relaxation of Restrictions Implemented During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Nursing Homes of June 18 2020, and the Secretary’s Amended Directive and Order Regarding Nursing Home Matters of June 19, 2020, all nursing homes in Maryland are required to continue testing for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. 

  • Nursing homes without an active COVID-19 outbreak must test all staff.

  • Individuals who have tested positive within eight weeks do not need to be retested if:
  1. They have completed isolation based on a time, test, or symptom-based strategy per CDC guidelines, and
  2. Have remained asymptomatic for COVID-19 symptoms.

In this second round of testing, MDH is coordinating free testing for all nursing homes through one of two laboratories; either the University of Maryland Medical School (UMB) Lab or CIAN Diagnostics Lab.

Nursing homes will be contacted by one of these two labs to offer testing and collect the information needed to order the tests. To support the ongoing testing efforts, all nursing homes should maintain rosters of their residents and staff and use these rosters in ordering COVID-19 tests from the labs. The labs will communicate any specifics needed for ordering directly to the nursing homes.

If you have lab related issues, you should call the lab. If you have public health questions or concerns, you should call your local health department.
Additional Updates
Directive and Order Regarding Assisted Living Program Matters

On Friday, the Maryland Department of Health released a new directive and order for Assisted Living facilities. This directive includes information on entry to facilities, face coverings, resident checks, PPE, cleaning, reporting, responding to residents with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, testing, and criteria for re-opening of facilities phases.

CMS Announces Plans to End the Blanket Waiver Requiring Nursing Homes to Submit Staffing Data

Late last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans to end the emergency blanket waiver requiring all nursing homes to resume submitting staffing data through the Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) system by August 14, 2020. The PBJ system allows CMS to collect nursing home staffing information which impacts the quality of care residents receive. The blanket waiver was intended to temporarily allow the agency to concentrate efforts on combating COVID-19 and reduce administrative burden on nursing homes so they could focus on patient health and safety during this public health emergency.

The memorandum released today also provides updates related to staffing and quality measures used on the Nursing Home Compare website and the Five Star Rating System.
MDH Webinar Recap

Last week, the Maryland Department of Health held a webinar call to update the long-term care sector on COVID-19 developments and best practices. The call was recorded, in case you were unable to join or would like to review the topics discussed, which included:

  • Review of current situation of COVID-19
  • Special Presentation From Johns Hopkins Medicine re.Plasma for COVID-19
  • Healthcare Personnel Quarantine
  • Q&A

If you have any questions, please email
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from our federal and state partners.
Thank you.

We cannot thank you enough for the dedication and diligence in doing all that you can for the residents in your communities. HFAM continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic with our state and national partners and will do all we can to support you during this time.