CMS recommends nursing homes do not advance through any of the stages of reopening
or relax any restrictions until all residents and staff have received a baseline test to establish that there are no known cases of COVID-19 in the facility,” CMS administrator Seema Verma said on a call with reporters. “In addition to the baseline test, we are calling on nursing homes to screen all staff daily and test them weekly. Further testing of residents may be necessary upon identification of coronavirus symptoms.”
The factors CMS listed to inform the relaxation of restrictions on skilled nursing facilities include:
- A community’s case status
- A nursing home’s case status
- Adequate staffing
- Local hospital capacity
- Universal source control — i.e. residents and visitors wearing face masks or face coverings
- Access to adequate testing
- Access to sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE)
Due to the elevated risk COVID-19 poses to nursing home residents and staff the recommendation includes additional “criteria for advancing through phases of reopening nursing homes than is recommended in the broader administration’s Opening Up America Again framework,” CMS wrote.
These additional criteria include states surveying SNFs that “experienced a significant COVID-19 outbreak prior to reopening” to make sure the facility is preventing transmission.
In essence, a nursing home’s opening needs to lag behind the general community’s reopening by 14 days, according to the guidance
Please refer to the CMS Memorandum Summary here:
(please refer to CMS.gov for the latest updates)