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Agency thanks nursing homes whose staff have completed free CMS training, but urges remaining homes to take advantage of this resource
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is publicly recognizing the 1,092 nursing homes at which 50% or more of their staff have completed CMS training designed to help staff combat the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in nursing homes. CMS applauds these facilities for taking this critical step to equip their staff with the latest information regarding infection control, vaccine distribution, and other topics.
There are 125,506 individuals from 7,313 nursing homes who have completed the training. This represents approximately 12.5% of the approximately one million nursing home staff in the country. With today’s announcement, CMS is calling on nursing homes to take action, urging them to require their staff to take this free training, as part of the Trump Administration’s continued efforts to keep nursing home residents safe.
“We’ve provided nursing homes with $20 billion in federal funding, millions of pieces of PPE, free testing machines and supplies, and significant technical assistance and on-the-ground support,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Ultimately, the ownership and management of every nursing must take it on themselves to ensure their staff is fully equipped to keep residents safe. With coronavirus cases increasing across the country and infection control identified as a major issue, we encourage all nursing homes to take advantage of this no-cost opportunity to train their staff.”
The training includes multiple modules, with emphases on topics such as infection control, screening and surveillance, personal protective equipment (PPE) usage, disinfection of the nursing home, cohorting and caring for individuals with dementia during a pandemic. CMS developed this training in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and expert stakeholders, and announced the training on August 25, 2020. For anyone interested, the training is free to access on a public CMS website; instructions on how to create an account and take the training are available at qsep.cms.gov/welcome.aspx.
Respiratory Protection Guidance for the Employers of Those Working in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, and Other Long-Term Care Facilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This guidance is designed specifically for nursing homes, assisted living, and other long-term care facilities (LTCFs) (e.g., skilled nursing facilities, inpatient hospice, convalescent homes, and group homes with nursing care). While this guidance focuses on protecting workers from occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 disease) by the use of respirators, primary reliance on engineering and administrative controls for controlling exposure is consistent with good industrial hygiene practice and with OSHA’s traditional adherence to a “hierarchy of controls.”
This October, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) fiscal year 2017 payment and policy changes for skilled nursing facilities take effect—with PPS payment rate updates, changes to the SNF Quality Reporting Program, and the SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program. Right on the heels of that, we expect CMS to issue the long-awaited Final “Mega-Rule.” This additional new rule will revise requirements for long-term care facilities’ participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs and will be the first comprehensive change to the Conditions of Participation since 1991. When the Proposed Rule was issued on July 13, 2015, it was evident that the Department of Health and Human Services intended to align priorities for all healthcare providers, as it included major revisions in the areas of quality, person-centered care, facility assessment, competency-based approaches, and modernization of standards—as well as robust requirements for compliance and ethics.
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