On May 18, 2020, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a memorandum on Nursing Home Reopening Recommendations for State and Local Officials. The CMS memo provides a phased-in approach for the reopening of nursing facilities and, of note, recommends weekly testing for staff. The CMS memo also recommends twenty-eight (28) days having passed since the onset of any new COVID-19 cases before visitation would be allowed in nursing facilities.
IHCA/INCAL is encouraged by CMS discussing how nursing facilities may open up again, but the CMS memo is only guidance at this time. Indiana has not altered its own reopening guidance for long-term care facilities and has not issued any guidance on resident or staff testing. The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is exploring options for more comprehensive and sustained testing, but there are no guidelines or requirements at present. As a reminder, ISDH is asking each skilled nursing facility to complete a survey by close of business on May 20, 2020, detailing how a nursing facility would accomplish COVID-19 testing of all staff in a two week period. IHCA/INCAL will continue to engage ISDH on this important topic and provide updates should any testing guidelines or requirements be issued.
As all long-term care facilities continue to test residents and staff as needed, AHCA/NCAL has compiled a helpful resource document addressing various reimbursement and legal issues related to COVID-19 testing in long-term care facilities. Of particular note, ACHA/INCAL has compiled a list of vendors that provide testing in nursing home settings using FDA approved tests.
For IHCA/INCAL’s full statement on CMS’s Nursing Home Reopening Recommendations, please click here.