Nursing homes are now required to test staff for COVID-19

Elvera Bartels

The Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Products and services is now requiring nursing properties to take a look at personnel for COVID-19.

The regulatory change, introduced Tuesday, is a go from the previous policy of recommending personnel get analyzed. 

Nursing properties that fall short to fulfill personnel tests demands possibility suspended participation in the Medicare and Medicaid packages. They will be cited for non-compliance and may perhaps facial area enforcement sanctions based mostly on the severity of the noncompliance, these types of as civil revenue penalties in extra of $400 per day, or a lot more than $eight,000 for an occasion of noncompliance.

Surveyors will be inspecting nursing properties for adherence. 
The Administration is serving to services offset the price tag of tests via $2.five billion in funding, on top of $five billion previously licensed from the Company Aid Fund of the Coronavirus Support, Aid, and Economic Security Act.
Nursing properties working with place-of-treatment tests equipment will be demanded to report diagnostic take a look at benefits.

The new rule also involve hospitals to present COVID-19 cases and related info to the U.S. Section of Wellness and Human Products and services.

CMS recommendations for the frequency of personnel tests will be based mostly on the degree of neighborhood unfold, to be introduced shortly via steering, that indicate the facility may perhaps be at greater possibility for COVID-19 transmission.
Nursing properties really should also supply tests to citizens for COVID-19, CMS explained. CMS now calls for that nursing properties supply checks to citizens when there is an outbreak or citizens present indicators. 

CMS will be putting out new steering on visitation shortly. 
In addition, HHS introduced nowadays the release of one.five million N95 respirators from the Strategic Nationwide Stockpile for distribution to somewhere around three,336 nursing house services.

Beginning August 28, the Defense Logistics Agency will immediate shipments of N95 respirators to select nursing properties that not long ago claimed obtaining adequate materials for only zero to 3 times of functions. These respirators are meant to complement existing materials of own protective machines and will present a 7-day source for each nursing house to assist an entire change right before discarding utilized solutions.

WHY THIS Matters

CMS explained it is performing to safeguard nursing house citizens from the ongoing danger of COVID-19 by revising its an infection-control rules for long-term treatment services by the need to take a look at their personnel.

The demands will assist federal and condition endeavours to discover early unfold of the virus and allocate own protective machines and other assets.
Hospitals, and not nursing properties, were the first precedence for obtaining desired PPE early in the pandemic, according to David Coppins, CEO and cofounder of IntelyCare. Nursing house executives were maxing out credit score cards to obtain facial area masks and personnel were wearing rubbish bags for gowns, he explained.

Before this thirty day period, CMS issued a lot more than $15 million in fines to nursing properties for noncompliance with an infection-control demands and failure to report an infection info. The monetary civil penalties went to a lot more than three,400 nursing properties.
THE Much larger Craze
The new rule follows a series of steps created to maximize tests in nursing properties, CMS explained. 

In April, CMS termed on governors to develop a tests system for their nursing properties, provided new payment for assortment of lab samples and greater payment for specific checks.  

In May possibly, CMS provided re-opening recommendations to nursing properties and states that termed for baseline tests of all citizens and personnel, and regime tests of personnel.

Immediate, place-of-treatment diagnostic equipment were distributed to all nursing properties that were accredited to perform these sorts of checks.

On July 22, President Trump introduced the release of an extra $five billion from the Company Aid Fund to assist nursing properties deal with critical wants, such as choosing extra personnel, rising tests, and providing extra providers these types of as technologies so citizens could join with their households.

The $five billion was on top of a earlier $4.9 billion allocation of Company Aid Money to nursing properties manufactured in May possibly.


The emergency rules will also involve hospitals and critical obtain hospitals to report info each day.

In March, Vice President Mike Pence despatched a letter to all hospitals requesting they present the benefits of COVID-19 checks carried out in their in-house laboratories to assist superior have an understanding of and monitor condition styles. CMS’ new regulations involve these types of reporting of take a look at benefits.

CMS’ new rule implements a CARES Act need that laboratories report COVID-19 take a look at benefits each day to the HHS Secretary or facial area a penalty in the amount of $one,000 a day for the first day, and $500 for each subsequent day. Labs will have a a person-time, 3-week grace time period to start off reporting demanded take a look at info. 

CMS is also revising its earlier policy that lined repeated COVID-19 tests for Medicare beneficiaries without having practitioner orders during the PHE. The revised policy specifies that each beneficiary may perhaps receive a person COVID-19 take a look at without having the order of a medical doctor or other overall health practitioner, but Medicare will involve these types of an order for all additional COVID-19 checks. 

To assist be certain that beneficiaries have wide obtain to tests, CMS is also shelling out for checks when requested by a pharmacist or other healthcare skilled licensed beneath applicable condition legislation to order diagnostic laboratory checks. 
In addition to today’s announcement concerning tests and reporting, previously this week, CMS unveiled steering for condition Medicaid businesses on new flexibilities CMS has manufactured accessible beneath emergency authorities to maximize reimbursement for nursing services that apply distinct an infection control practices, these types of as designating a quarantine or isolation wing for COVID-19 individuals. 


“These new regulations represent a remarkable acceleration of our endeavours to monitor and control the unfold of COVID-19,” explained CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Reporting of take a look at benefits and other info are vitally crucial instruments for controlling the unfold of the virus and give suppliers on the entrance lines what they require to fight it.”

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Electronic mail the writer: [email protected]

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