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[May 11, 2020] Additional COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Waivers for Nursing Facilities

Posted May 12, 20202 min Read

Regulatory & Clinical

On May 11, 2020, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued additional COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Waivers for Health Care Providers with a retroactive effective date of March 1, 2020, for the duration of the public health emergency.  Specific to nursing facilities and skilled nursing facilities, CMS modified the minimum training requirements for paid feeding assistants and certain Life Safety Code provisions.

First, CMS modified the requirements at 483.60(h)(1)(i) and 483.160(a), requiring a minimum of one (1) hour of training for paid feeding assistants, rather than a minimum of eight (8) hours of training.  CMS is not waiving any other requirements under 42 CFR §483.60(h) related to paid feeding assistants or the required training content at 42 CFR §483.160(a)(1)-(8), which includes feeding techniques and infection control training.  Additionally, a feeding assistant must still work under the supervision of a registered nursed or licensed practical nurse.

CMS is also waiving and modifying specific Life Safety Code provisions under 42 CFR § 483.90(a), as follows:

  • Alcohol-based Hand-Rub (ABHR) Dispensers:  CMS is waiving any prescriptive requirements for the placement of ABHR dispensers for use by staff and others.  However, facilities should continue to protect against inappropriate use.
  • Fire Drills:  Due to the inadvisability of quarterly fire drills that move and mass staff together, CMS will permit a documented training program related to a facility’s current fire plan, which should consider current facility conditions.  The training should instruct all employees, including existing, new, and temporary employees, on their current duties, life safety procedures, and the fire protection devices in their assigned area.
  • Temporary Construction:  CMS is waiving requirements that would otherwise not permit temporary barriers and/or walls between residents.

About the Author

Laura Brown, Director of Legislative and Legal Affairs