• COVID-19: CMS QSO Memo Details Nursing Home Reopening Recommendations for State and Local Officials (5/20)

    Tuesday, May 19, 2020 | CMS

    • Recommendations for State and Local Officials: CMS is providing recommendations to help determine the level of mitigation needed to prevent the transmission of COVID19 in nursing homes. The recommendations cover the following items:

    o Criteria for relaxing certain restrictions and mitigating the risk of resurgence: Factors to inform decisions for relaxing nursing home restrictions through a phased approach.

    o Visitation and Service Considerations: Considerations allowing visitation and services in each phase.

    o Restoration of Survey Activities: Recommendations for restarting certain surveys in each phase.

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  • Final MDS 3.0 Item Sets and Data Specifications for This October 1 Released (5/20)

    Monday, May 18, 2020 | CMS

    In response to State Medicaid Agency and stakeholder requests, CMS has updated the MDS 3.0 item sets (version 1.17.2) and related technical data specifications.  These changes will support the calculation of PDPM payment codes on OBRA assessments when not combined with the 5-day SNF PPS assessment, specifically the OBRA comprehensive (NC) and OBRA quarterly (NQ) assessment item sets, which was not possible with item set version 1.17.1.  This will allow State Medicaid Agencies to collect and compare RUG-III/IV payment codes to PDPM ones and thereby inform their future payment models.

    The changes to the technical data specifications that support these modifications are contained in the Errata v3.00.4 which can be accessed in the file: MDS 3.0 data specs errata (v3.00.4) Final 04-30-2020 in the Downloads section below. Supporting materials including the 1.17.2 Item Change History report and the revised 1.17.2 Item Sets can be accessed in the file:  MDS 3.0 Final Item Sets v1.17.2 for October 1 2020 zip also posted in the Downloads section below.

    Please confirm with your State Medicaid Agency if your State will be requiring the calculation of the PDPM payment codes on the OBRA assessments when not combined with a 5-day SNF PPS assessment.

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  • CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Engagement Calls – Week of 5/18/20

    Monday, May 18, 2020 | CMS

    CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

    Call details are below. Conference lines are limited so we highly encourage you to join via audio webcast, either on your computer or smartphone web browser. You are welcome to share this invitation with your colleagues and professional networks. 

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  • OSHA Alert: COVID-19 Guidance for Nursing Home and LTC Facility Workers (5/20)

    Monday, May 18, 2020 | MX

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is committed to protecting the health and safety of America’s workers and workplaces during these unprecedented times. The agency will be issuing a series of alerts designed to keep workers safe. In a nursing home or long-term care facility, the following tips can help reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

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  • LTCSP Survey Resources: Surveyor Tools Updated to Include COVID-19 (5/20)

    Monday, May 18, 2020 | CMS

    This ZIP file contains resources for surveyors conducting initial surveys under the Long-term Care Survey Process (LTCSP).

     

     05/14/2020 COVID-19 Focused Survey folder Updated the following:

    • F-Tag Job Aid- changed font color of F761 to black. Removed asterisks from F885.

    • Added updated F-Tag job aide to survey resources zip file.

     

    05/08/2020 COVID-19 Focused Survey folder Updated the following:

    • Summary of the COVID-19 Focused Survey for Nursing Homes Added to offsite survey activities-telephonic interviews of residents, representatives and families. Added review communication with residents, representatives and families. In the onsite survey activity section added in the interview section-information provided to residents concerning COVID-19. In the Facility Self-Assessment added Reporting to residents, families and representatives to priority areas. Added Reporting to CDC to priority areas.

    • COVID-19 Focused Survey Protocol Added information about the review of F884 by CMS Federal Surveyors. Added ACO coding information to off-site prep. Expanded information under offsite and onsite activities.

    • Entrance Conference Worksheet Clarified language under #9. Added #13 requesting information on facility’s mechanism for reporting COVID-19 to residents, representatives, and families.

    • COVID-19 Focused Survey for Nursing Homes Added two critical elements (CE) and adjusted the CE order. #7 CE Reporting to Residents, Representatives & Families, #8 Reporting to CDC, and #9 Emergency Preparedness.

    • F-Tag Job Aid- Added tags F884 and F885

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  • LTCSP Survey F-Tag List by Regulatory Grouping UPDATED and Additional Resources (5/20)

    Sunday, May 17, 2020 | CMS
    These resources from CMS include a list of F-tags by regulatory grouping used in the Long-term Care Survey Process (LTCSP) effective Nov. 28, 2017, and a crosswalk between old and new F-tags. CMS updated the tag list in May 2020.
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  • CMS COVID-19 Emergency Declarations and Specific SNF/NF Flexibilities UPDATED (5/20)

    Friday, May 15, 2020 | CMS

    The blanket waivers were updated on May 15, 2020.

    Also Long Term Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities and/or Nursing Facilities): CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19  was updated on May 15.  

    The update here is:

    **Paid Feeding Assistants: CMS is modifying the requirements at 42 CFR §§ 483.60(h)(1)(i) and 483.160(a) regarding required training of paid feeding assistants. Specifically, CMS is modifying the minimum timeframe requirements in these sections, which require this training to be a minimum of 8 hours. CMS is modifying to allow that the training can be a minimum of 1 hour in length. CMS is not waiving any other requirements under 42 CFR §483.60(h) related to paid feeding assistants or the required training content at 42 CFR §483.160(a)(1)-(8), which contains infection control training and other elements. Additionally, CMS is also not waiving or modifying the requirements at 42 CFR §483.60(h)(2)(i), which requires that a feeding assistant must work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN).


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  • CDC Long-term Care COVID-19 Resources Updated (5/20)

    Thursday, May 14, 2020 | CDC

    Interim Additional Guidance for Infection Prevention and Control for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 in Nursing Homes

     

    Summary of Changes to the Guidance:

    Updated guidance to recommend that nursing homes:

    • Act now to implement ALL COVID-19 preparedness recommendations, even before cases are identified in their community
    • Address asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, implement source control for everyone entering a healthcare facility (e.g., healthcare personnel, patients, visitors), regardless of symptoms.
    • Dedicate an area of the facility to care for residents with suspected or confirmed COVID-19; consider creating a staffing plan for that specific location


    COVID-19 Preparedness Checklist for Nursing Homes and other Long-Term Care Settings

    Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities can take steps to assess and improve their preparedness for responding to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This checklist should be used as one tool to develop a comprehensive COVID-19 response plan, including plans for:

    • Rapid identification and management of ill residents
    • Considerations for visitors
    • Supplies and resources
    • Sick leave policies and other occupational health considerations
    • Education and training
    • Surge capacity for staffing, equipment and supplies, and postmortem care

    The checklist identifies key areas that long-term care facilities should consider in their COVID-19 planning. Long-term care facilities can use this tool to self-assess the strengths and weaknesses of current preparedness efforts. This checklist does not describe mandatory requirements or standards; rather, it highlights important areas to review to prepare for the possibility of residents with COVID-19.

     

    Additional pages: 


     


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  • CMS COVID-19 Nursing Homes Best Practices Toolkit and New QIN-QIO Virtual Assistance (5/20)

    Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | CMS

    New tool provides innovative solutions for states and facilities to protect our nation’s vulnerable nursing home residents during emergency

    CMS has released a new toolkit developed to aid nursing homes, Governors, states, departments of health, and other agencies who provide oversight and assistance to these facilities, with additional resources to aid in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic within nursing homes. The toolkit builds upon previous actions taken by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which provide a wide range of tools and guidance to states, healthcare providers and others during the public health emergency. The toolkit is comprised of best practices from a variety of front line health care providers, Governors’ COVID-19 task forces, associations and other organizations, and experts, and is intended to serve as a catalogue of resources dedicated to addressing the specific challenges facing nursing homes as they combat COVID-19.

    “The coronavirus presents a unique challenge for nursing homes. CMS is using every tool at our disposal to protect our nation’s most vulnerable citizens and aid the facilities that care for them. This toolkit will support state, local leaders and nursing homes in identifying best practices to protect our vulnerable elderly in nursing homes” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.  

    The toolkit provides detailed resources and direction for quality improvement assistance and can help in the creation and implementation of strategies and interventions intended to manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within nursing homes. The toolkit outlines best practices for a variety of subjects ranging from infection control to workforce and staffing. It also provides contact information for organizations who stand ready to assist with the unique challenges posed by caring for individuals in long-term care settings. Each state was involved in the creation of this toolkit, resulting in a robust resource that may be leveraged by a variety of entities serving this vulnerable population.

    Additionally, CMS has contracted with 12 Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs) to work with providers, community partners, beneficiaries and caregivers on data-driven quality improvement initiatives designed to improve the quality of care for beneficiaries across the United States. The QIN-QIOs are reaching out to nursing homes across the country to provide virtual technical assistance for homes that have an opportunity for improvement based on an analysis of previous citations for infection control deficiencies using publicly available data found on Nursing Home Compare.

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  • Release of Updated MDS With New Standardized SPADEs (and Supporting Training) Delayed Due to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (5/20)

    Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | CMS

    CMS is delaying the release of the updated versions of the Minimum Data Set (MDS) needed to support the Transfer of Health (TOH) Information Quality Measures and new or revised Standardized Patient Assessment Data Elements (SPADEs) in order to provide maximum flexibilities for providers of Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) to respond to the COVID-19 Pubic Health Emergency (PHE).

    The release of updated versions of the MDS will be delayed until October 1st of the year that is at least 2 full fiscal years after the end of the COVID-19 PHE. For example, if the COVID-19 PHE ends on September, 20, 2020, SNFs will be required to begin collecting data using the updated versions of the item sets beginning with patients discharged on October 1, 2022.

    Following the PHE, CMS will announce training opportunities for providers via this webpage and announcements sent out via email distribution lists and posted on the Medicare Learning Network.

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