On August 26, 2020, CMS issued QSO-20-38-NH that outlines details on how nursing homes are to comply with new interim final rule 483.80(h) requiring COVID-19 testing of staff. This regulation went into effect on September 2, 2020.
Testing of Staff and Residents in Response to an Outbreak
For the purposes of the CMS requirements set forth in F886, an outbreak is defined as a new COVID-19 infection in any healthcare personnel (HCP) or any nursing home-onset COVID-19 infection in a resident. A resident who is admitted to the facility with COVID-19 does not constitute a facility outbreak.
Upon identification of a single new case of COVID-19 infection in any staff or residents, all staff and residents should be tested, and all staff and residents that tested negative should be retested every 3 days to 7 days until testing identifies no new cases of COVID-19 infection among staff or residents for a period of at least 14 days since the most recent positive result.
WHCA has heard of recent citations under F886 for facility(s) following LHJ guidance for testing of staff and residents in response to an outbreak when the testing response allegedly does not meet the minimum CMS requirements outlined in the requirements of participation.
While the LHJ does have authority over outbreaks and testing, they do not have the authority to waive the Requirements of Participation, CMS requirements for a certified facility. Therefore, if the LHJ issues an order that is stricter or more comprehensive than the CMS requirement, the facility must comply. However, the facility cannot meet the CMS requirements with a standard/testing guidance that is less than the CMS requirement. If you have questions regarding the CMS Testing Requirements, please email Elena Madrid or call her at (800) 562-6170, extension 105.