Coronavirus Update #158
New CMS Requirements, Updated MDH Guidance,
National Nursing Home Training Program, Preparing for Flu Season
CMS Issues New Reporting and Testing Requirements for Nursing Homes 

Nursing homes now required to test staff and offer testing to residents

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an interim final rule with comment period that revises regulations in several areas for long term care facilities and other providers. Importantly, this rule establishes a new requirement for long term care facilities for COVID-19 testing of residents and staff. CMS did not establish a specific frequency or criteria for testing in the rule but listed potential criteria that will be considered and addressed further in guidance.
The regulations are effective immediately upon their publication at the Office of the Federal Register, which has not occurred yet. Most of the new regulations are applicable only for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. CMS is providing a 60-day comment period for public input on these requirements. 

Here is a high-level summary of the new testing requirements. A more detailed analysis and summary of additional provisions in the rule will follow. 

AHCA continues to advocate for access to, and systems to support, reliable testing with rapid results for skilled nursing facility residents and staff.

We, along with AHCA, will also continue to advocate that CMS guidance on the implementation of routine testing requirements for nursing homes acknowledges ongoing challenges with access to testing supplies and timely testing results. This includes flexibility to implement evolving knowledge about optimal uses of and approaches to testing, and does not penalize providers for factors beyond their control.
Updated Guidance on Preparing for and Responding to COVID-19

Yesterday, the Maryland Department of Health released updates to the guidance on Preparing for and Responding to COVID-19 in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities. Please carefully review the documents.

The updates in the guidance will allow residents who are not on precautions to leave their rooms, and to attend therapy in the rehab gym under limited circumstances. These updates apply to all facilities including those who have not yet entered Phase 1 of relaxing restrictions.
National Nursing Home Training Program

As you know, yesterday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a national nursing home training program for managers and front-line staff in handling COVID-19. The link to this announcement and instructions for registering for this training is below.

Flu Vaccination Outreach and National Immunization Awareness Month 

As we ready for FLU season, here are some resources that may be helpful for you and your teams. Please encourage you colleagues, family, friends and communities to get the FLU shot. There will be more resources to come, but for now, please see links below:

  • Here is the link to the OASH childhood vaccination resources. Please note that these materials are for the general public and consist of graphics, widgets, videos, and toolkits.

Did you miss HFAM's previous alerts?

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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.