Trump Administration Announces Additional Actions to Protect Nursing Facility Residents From COVID-19:
Late yesterday, July 22 2020 President Trump announced several new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initiatives to aid nursing facilities in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. These initiatives focus on areas that include additional funding, testing, training, support & technical assistance, and the sharing of weekly data.
The US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) will devote an additional five billion dollars of CARES Act funds to build skills and enhance responses to COVID-19. These funds will be available to Medicare Certified nursing facilities and state veteran's homes that participate in the Nursing Home COCID-19 Training (see below) and may be used to hire additional staff, implement infection control mentorship programs, purchase communication technology to enhance resident connections with family, to name a few.
CMS announced they will begin requiring rather than recommending weekly staff testing in all states with a five percent or greater positivity rate. CMS also announced last week the intended disbursement of Point of Care COVID testing units to facilities across the nation. Additional information regarding the positivity rates and distribution plans will be shared as available.
In addition, CMS has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to develop a Nursing Home COVID-19 Training program. The training utilizes 23 educational modules along with a scenario-based module to facilitate learning on infection control and best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID in facilities. Certificates of completion and badges can be downloaded for facilities to include on their websites to recognize completion. NOTE: This training is a requirement for Medicare Certified facilities and states veteran's homes to receive the additional funding. The first of these trainings is offered this afternoon with registration information located below.
CMS has also begun sharing nursing facility data collected from facility data submissions into the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) with state agencies. This data is being used to prioritize ongoing COVID Infection Control survey activity. CMS has also shared with the state agencies they will begin identifying "hot counties" within each state based on the NHSN data submissions. The state agency survey teams will be expected to respond with on-site surveys within two days of increased COVID prevalence within facilities located within these "hot counties".
National CMS/CDC Nursing Home COVID-19 Training Series Webcast -- Today:
Assessing Readiness: Advice from the CDC
Thursday, July 23 from 4 to 5 pm ET
Register for this webcast.
Is your nursing home ready to handle the demands of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic? In this session, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) staff discuss the COVID-19 Infection Control Assessment and Response tool. Learn about opportunities and strategies to improve infection prevention control implementation. This series is brought to you by CMS, CDC, and hosted by the Quality Improvement Organization Program, a national network of Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations serving every state and territory.
Miss a training? View recordings, slides, and resources on QIOProgram.org.
For questions or concerns please contact Cathy Sunlin at CathySunlin@HCAM.org.
July 23, 2020