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[May 6, 2020] CMS Releases Memo on Interim Final Rule Updating Requirements for Reporting and Notification of Confirmed and Suspected COVID-19 Cases Among Residents and Staff in Nursing Homes - IHCA

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[May 6, 2020] CMS Releases Memo on Interim Final Rule Updating Requirements for Reporting and Notification of Confirmed and Suspected COVID-19 Cases Among Residents and Staff in Nursing Homes

Posted May 7, 20203 min Read

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On May 6, 2020, CMS released a QSO memo addressing the Interim Final Rule requiring nursing homes to report to NHSN on COVID-19 information, as well as provide notifications to residents, their representatives and families.  Reporting is optional for assisted living communities, although assisted living providers should continue to follow Indiana’s communication and reporting guidelines.  Important highlights from the memo are listed below.

  • These reporting requirements go into effect with the publication in the Federal Register of the Interim Final Rule on May 8, 2020.
  • Nursing homes must submit their first set of data by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, 2020 to the NHSN Long-Term Care Facility COVID-19 Module.  The QSO memo provides an overview of the registration process, and web-based training can be found here.  Questions can also be submitted to NHSN@cdc.gov.
  • CMS will provide facilities with an initial two-week grace period to begin reporting cases in the NHSN system (which ends at 11:59 p.m. on May 24, 2020).
  • Data older than May 8, 2020 is not required to be submitted.
  • Nursing homes must submit data at least once every seven (7) days.  Reporting should remain consistent with data being submitted each week on the same day(s) for the same collection period (i.e., Monday through Sunday).
  • CMS will review the data every Monday to assess compliance.

The federal resident/representative reporting requirements also go into effect on May 8, 2020.  Indiana’s existing daily communication requirements satisfy the CMS requirements; however, if a resident and/or their designated representative opt out of Indiana’s daily reporting requirements, the nursing facility must still comply with the CMS requirements of reporting of new cases/respiratory symptoms and weekly updates as discussed below.

Under the federal regulations, nursing facilities must inform residents, their representatives, and families of those residing in facilities by 5 p.m. the next calendar day following the occurrence of:

  • Either a single confirmed infection of COVID-19; or
  • Three (3) or more residents or staff (including contractors and volunteers) with new-onset of respiratory symptoms occurring within 72 hours of each other; and
  • This notification must occur at least weekly to provide a cumulative update.

The federal resident/representative reporting requirement only applies to nursing homes with a positive COVID-19 case and may be accomplished through a variety of ways, including website postings, email listservs, paper notification, and/or recorded telephone messages.

New COVID-19 F-Tags & Updated Survey Tools

CMS has established two new F-Tags – F884: COVID-19 Reporting to CDC and F885: COVID-19 Reporting to Residents, their Representatives, and Families.  Review for F884 will be conducted offsite by CMS Federal surveyors, and review for F885 will be occur onsite by State and/or Federal surveyors.

CMS has also updated its survey tools, including COVID-19 Focused Survey for Nursing Homes, Entrance Conference Worksheet, COVID-19 Focused Survey Protocol, and Summary of the COVID-19 Focused Survey for Nursing Homes.  These updated forms are posted to the Survey Resources folder in the COVID-19 Focused Survey sub-folder on the CMS Nursing Homes website.

About the Author

Laura Brown, Director of Legislative and Legal Affairs