April 03, 2020
As the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to run rampant, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released new recommendations for nursing homes.
“The recommendations build on and strengthen recent guidance from CMS and CDC related to effective implementation of longstanding infection control procedures,” the agencies expressed.
According to the agencies, nursing homes have become an accelerator for the virus. Because they are in an enclosed environment like a nursing home, and are often vulnerable to complications from the virus, the virus spreads more rapidly.
“To address this spread, CMS, which inspects Medicare-participating facilities to ensure compliance with Federal safety rules, has worked hand-in-hand with CDC to provide nursing homes with clear guidance on how they can keep their residents safe,” the press release stated.
On March 13, CMS advised nursing homes restrict visitors, and on March 23, CMS announced new focused infection control surveys intended to assess facilities’ compliance with infection control requirements to ensure they are prepared to address the COVID-19 threat.
The newest recommendations from the agency are as follows:
- Facilities should ensure they will continue to comply with CMS and CDC infection control guidance;
- CMS and CDC are urging State and local leaders to consider the needs of long-term care facilities with respect to supplies of PPE and COVID-19 tests;
- Nursing homes should immediately implement symptom screening for staff, residents, and visitors;
- Facilities should ensure that proper PPE is being used when staff is interacting with patients and residents; and
- Separate staff teams should be used for residents to the best of the ability of the facility.
“The Trump Administration is calling on the nursing home industry and state and local leaders to join us by taking action now to ensure the safety of their residents, who are among our most vulnerable citizens. The Administration urges them to carefully review our recommendations, and implement them immediately,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma, MPH.
CMS. Trump Administration Issues Key Recommendations to Nursing Homes, State and Local Governments [press release]. https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-issues-key-recommendations-nursing-homes-state-and-local-governments. Published April 2, 2020. Accessed April 3, 2020.