The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published new rules requiring nursing facilities (NFs) to routinely test staff for COVID-19. The rules also require NFs to test residents when a facility outbreak occurs or when they exhibit symptoms.
Additionally, laboratories and NFs using point-of-care testing devices will be required to report diagnostic test results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network as required by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
CMS also announced that the frequency of staff testing will be based on the degree of community spread and said details will be announced soon through additional guidance.
Compliance with these rules is now a requirement for participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs under CMS’ authority through the Social Security Act.
Facilities that do not comply with the new requirements will be cited for non-compliance and can face enforcement sanctions, such as civil money penalties, based on the severity of the noncompliance.
On July 22, 2020, the administration announced the release of an additional $5 billion from the Provider Relief Fund to help NFs address critical needs, including hiring additional staff, increasing testing, and providing additional services, such as technology, so residents can connect with their families if they are not able to visit in person.
NOTE: Nursing facilities must also report data for all tests completed, for each individual tested. This data must be reported within 24 hours of test completion, on a daily basis, to the appropriate state or local public health department.