Last night, CMS issued an interim final rule with comment period which revises 42 CFR § 483.80 by establishing explicit reporting requirements for long-term care (LTC) facilities to report information related to COVID-19 cases among facility residents and staff. These reporting requirements are not yet in effect but will be applicable on the date of the publication at the Office of the Federal Register. IHCA/INCAL will provide further updates as additional details are confirmed.
Under the interim rule LTC facilities must:
- Electronically report information about COVID-19 in a standardized format specified by the HHS Secretary, which will rely on the CDC NHSN portal that went live on April 29th with the new LTCF COVID-19 module. This report to CDC must include but is not limited to:
- Suspected and confirmed COVID-19 infections among residents and staff, including residents previously treated for COVID-19;
- Total deaths and COVID-19 deaths among residents and staff;
- Personal protective equipment and hand hygiene supplies in the facility;
- Ventilator capacity and supplies in the facility;
- Resident beds and census;
- Access to COVID-19 testing while the resident is in the facility;
- Staffing shortages; and
- Other information specified by the HHS Secretary.
- Provide the information specified in the list above at a frequency specified by the Secretary, but no less than weekly. This information will be posted publicly by CMS to support protecting the health and safety of residents, personnel, and the general public.
- Inform residents, their representatives, and families of those residing in facilities by 5 PM the next calendar day following the occurrence of:
- Either a single confirmed infection of COVID-19, or
- Three (3) or more residents or staff with new-onset of respiratory symptoms occurring within seventy-two (72) hours of each other.
- The information provided to residents, their representatives, and families must:
- Not include personally identifiable information;
- Include information on mitigating actions implemented to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission, including if normal operations of the facility will be altered; and
- Include any cumulative updates for residents, their representatives, and families at least weekly or by 5 PM the next calendar day following the subsequent occurrence of either a confirmed infection of COVID-19, or whenever three (3) or more residents or staff with new-onset of respiratory symptoms occur within seventy-two (72) hours of each other.
The preamble to the rule states that facilities are not expected to make individual calls. Providers may use general communication platforms easily available to residents, representatives, and families, such as listservs, website postings, and recorded telephone messages.