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April 17, 2020

COVID-19: Nursing Home Transparency, Recommendations for Areas with Low Incidence of Disease

Trump Administration Announces New Nursing Homes COVID-19 Transparency EffortExternal Website

Agencies partner with nursing homes to keep nursing home residents safe

On April 19, under the leadership of President Trump, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new regulatory requirementsExternal Website that will require nursing homes to inform residents, their families, and representatives of COVID-19 cases in their facilities. In addition, as part of President Trump's Opening Up America, CMS will now require nursing homes to report cases of COVID-19 directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This information must be reported in accordance with existing privacy regulations and statute. This measure augments longstanding requirements for reporting infectious disease to state and local health departments. Finally, CMS will also require nursing homes to fully cooperate with CDC surveillance efforts around COVID-19 spread.

CDC will be providing a reporting tool to nursing homes that will support federal efforts to collect nationwide data to assist in COVID-19 surveillance and response. This joint effort is a result of the CMS-CDC Work Group on Nursing Home Safety. CMS plans to make the data publicly available. This effort builds on recent recommendations from the American Health Care AssociationExternal Website and Leading Age,External Website two large nursing home industry associations, that nursing homes quickly report COVID-19 cases.

This data sharing project is only the most recent in the Trump Administration's rapid and aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More details are available in the Press ReleaseExternal Website and Guidance MemoExternal Website.

CMS Issues Recommendations to Re-Open Health Care Systems in Areas with Low Incidence of COVID-19External Website

On April 19, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued new recommendations specifically targeted to communities that are in Phase 1 of the Guidelines for President Trump's Opening Up America Again with low incidence or relatively low and stable incidence of COVID-19 cases. The recommendations update earlier guidance provided by CMS on limiting non-essential surgeries and medical procedures. The new CMS guidelines recommend a gradual transition and encourage health care providers to coordinate with local and state public health officials and to review the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other supplies, workforce availability, facility readiness, and testing capacity when making the decision to re-start or increase in-person care.

The new recommendations can be found here: PDF

The Guidelines for Opening Up America Again can be found here: Website

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