Jul 24, 2020
CMS Announces Significant COVID-19 Initiatives for Nursing Homes
President Trump has announced a series of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) initiatives designed to further address the profound impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s nursing homes. CMS Administrator Seema Verma noted that this “multipronged intervention” represents the Trump Administration’s latest effort toward prioritizing the health, safety and welfare of nursing home residents.
Highlights of the new initiatives include the following:
- Funding: As a supplement to the $4.9 billion previously dedicated to nursing homes, $5 billion of the Provider Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act will be used to develop nursing home skills, including enhanced infection control, and to refine the response of nursing homes to COVID-19.
- Testing: To reduce the possibility of introducing COVID-19 into nursing homes through asymptomatic carriers, CMS will require nursing homes in states with a positivity rate of 5% or more to perform weekly COVID-19 testing on all staff. 600 testing devices will be shipped to nursing homes this week, and at least 15,000 more devices will be distributed over the next several months.
- Technical Assistance/Support: Through a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CMS will make available a nationwide online training program, including 23 modules designed to educate nursing homes on best practices and infection control strategies. The training and specialized technical assistance will be available to all nursing homes who have had recent COVID-19 cases and whose most recent CMS inspections have identified infection control deficiencies. Nursing homes must complete the training program in order to receive additional funding from the Provider Relief Fund.
- Weekly Data: As part of the weekly Governor’s report, the White House and CMS will provide the states with a list of nursing homes that have demonstrated an increase in COVID-19 cases. It is hoped that this information will assist states in supporting the highest risk nursing homes in their efforts to control COVID-19.
Schenck Price represents health care institutions, nursing homes and senior living organizations. The firm has been a leader during the pandemic providing counselling to its clients and industry groups on health care topics, employee issues, litigation preparation and financing and grant programs. Our forward-looking approach is now focused on identifying the problems and solutions that our clients will face in the latter stages of the COVID-19 crisis and the post-pandemic period.
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