CMS Enhances Guidelines for Nursing Homes

April 3, 2020

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued critical recommendations to state and local governments, as well as nursing homes, to help mitigate the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in nursing homes. The recommendations build on and strengthen recent guidance from CMS and CDC related to effective implementation of longstanding infection control procedures.

The recommendations include:

  • Nursing homes should immediately ensure that they are complying with all CMS and CDC guidance related to infection control;   
  • As nursing homes are a critical part of the healthcare system, and because of the ease of spread in long term care facilities and the severity of illness that occurs in residents with COVID-19, CMS/CDC urges state and local leaders to consider the needs of long term care facilities with respect to supplies of PPE and COVID-19 tests;   
  • Nursing homes should immediately implement symptom screening for all staff, residents, and visitors – including temperature checks;   
  • Nursing homes should ensure all staff are using appropriate PPE when they are interacting with patients and residents, to the extent PPE is available and per CDC guidance on conservation of PPE; and   
  • To avoid transmission within nursing homes, facilities should use separate staffing teams for residents to the best of their ability, and urges nursing homes to work with state and local leaders to designate separate facilities or units within a facility to separate COVID-19 negative residents from COVID-19 positive residents and individuals with unknown COVID-19 status.

IHA is working with long-term care facility associations to put together Illinois-specific transfer protocols.
Read more in a CMS press release.