• CDC: Asymptomatic/Presymptomatic COVID-19 Residents May Up Transmission Risk in Nursing Homes (3/20)

    CDC: Asymptomatic/Presymptomatic COVID-19 Residents May Up Transmission Risk in Nursing Homes (3/20)

    By CDC -

    Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Residents of a Long-Term Care Skilled Nursing Facility — King County, Washington, March 2020

    Early Release / March 27, 2020 / 69

    Summary

    What is already known about this topic?

    Once SARS-CoV-2 is introduced in a long-term care skilled nursing facility (SNF), rapid transmission can occur.

    What is added by this report?

    Following identification of a case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a health care worker, 76 of 82 residents of an SNF were tested for SARS-CoV-2; 23 (30.3%) had positive test results, approximately half of whom were asymptomatic or presymptomatic on the day of testing.

    What are the implications for public health practice?

    Symptom-based screening of SNF residents might fail to identify all SARS-CoV-2 infections. Asymptomatic and presymptomatic SNF residents might contribute to SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Once a facility has confirmed a COVID-19 case, all residents should be cared for using CDC-recommended personal protective equipment (PPE), with considerations for extended use or reuse of PPE as needed.

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  • COVID-19: CMS Issues SNF QRP / SNF VBP Guidance Memo (3/20)

    COVID-19: CMS Issues SNF QRP / SNF VBP Guidance Memo (3/20)

    By CMS -

    DATE: March 27, 2020

    TO: MLN Connects Newsletter and Other Program-Specific Listserv Recipients

    FROM: [Program-Specific Listservs, Partner Listservs (e.g., NHSN), ESRD Networks, CMS Emergency web page]

    SUBJECT: Exceptions and Extensions for Quality Reporting Requirements for Acute Care Hospitals, PPS-Exempt Cancer Hospitals, Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities, Skilled Nursing Facilities, Home Health Agencies, Hospices, Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities, Long-Term Care Hospitals, Ambulatory Surgical Centers, Renal Dialysis Facilities, and MIPS Eligible Clinicians Affected by COVID-19

     

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is granting exceptions1 under certain Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs for acute care hospitals, Prospective Payment System (PPS)-exempt cancer hospitals, inpatient psychiatric facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, longterm care hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, renal dialysis facilities, and Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) eligible clinicians for all providers and suppliers participating in the programs described below across the United States and its territories in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

     

    On March 22, 2020, CMS announced relief for clinicians, providers, hospitals and facilities participating in quality reporting programs in response to COVID-19.2 This memorandum supplements and provides additional guidance to health care providers with regard to the announcement. The scope and duration of the exceptions under each Medicare quality reporting program and value-based purchasing program are described below. CMS is granting exceptions and extensions for certain deadlines to assist these health care providers while they direct their resources toward caring for their patients and ensuring the health and safety of patients and staff. In some instances, these exceptions and extensions are granted because the data collected may be greatly impacted by the response to COVID-19 and therefore should not be considered in the quality reporting program. CMS is closely monitoring the situation for potential adjustments and will update exception lists, exempted reporting periods, and submission deadlines accordingly as events occur.

     

    Home Health Agencies (HHAs), Hospices, Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs), LongTerm Care Hospitals (LTCHs), and Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs)

    CMS is granting an exception to the Quality Reporting Program (QRP) reporting requirements for all HHAs, Hospices, IRFs, LTCHs and SNFs. In accordance with 42 C.F.R. 412.560(c), 412.634(c), 413.360(c), 484.245(c), these providers are excepted from the reporting of data on measures, Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) surveys, and standardized patient assessment data required under these programs for the post-acute care (PAC) quality reporting programs for calendar years (CYs) 2019 and 2020 for the following quarters specific to each program:

    • SNFs–Skilled Nursing Facility QRP
    • October 1, 2019–December 31, 2019 (Q4 2019)
    • January 1, 2020–March 31, 2020 (Q1 2020)
    • April 1, 2020–June 30, 2020 (Q2 2020)

     

    CMS finalized the SNF VBP Program’s Extraordinary Circumstances Exception (ECE) Policy in the FY 2019 SNF PPS final rule (83 FR 39280 through 39281). In accordance with § 413.338(d)(4)(iv) for the Skilled Nursing Facility Value-Based Purchasing (SNF VBP) Program, CMS will exclude qualifying claims from the claims-based SNF 30-Day All-Cause Readmission Measure (SNFRM; NQF #2510) calculation for the following periods:

    • January 1, 2020–March 31, 2020 (Q1 2020)
    • April 1, 2020–June 30, 2020 (Q2 2020)

     

    PAC QRP Extraordinary Circumstances Exception Request Information For further information about exceptions, view the program-specific web pages:

    SNF Quality Reporting Reconsideration and Exception & Extension or email questions toSNFQRPReconsiderations@cms.hhs.gov

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  • CMS Long-Term Care Nursing Homes Telehealth and Telemedicine Tool Kit

    CMS Long-Term Care Nursing Homes Telehealth and Telemedicine Tool Kit

    By CMS -

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has broadened access to Medicare telehealth services so that beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. CMS is expanding this benefit on a temporary and emergency basis under the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. The benefits are part of the broader effort by CMS and the White House Task Force to ensure that all Americans – particularly those at high-risk of complications from the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, are aware of easy-to-use, accessible benefits that can help keep them healthy while helping to contain the community spread of this virus.

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  • Focused COVID-19 Surveyor Training Course and Tools (3/20)

    Focused COVID-19 Surveyor Training Course and Tools (3/20)

    By CMS -

    Training Offering Overview

    Training Name: COVID-19 LTC-Surveyor Training (COVID19LTC)

    Activity Code: 0CMSCOVID19_LTC

    Training Description: A brief training related to a focused COVID-19 survey for Nursing Homes surveyors. This is not mandatory, but is recommended for LTC surveyors.

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  • COVID-19: 34 States Have Section 1135 Waivers  as of 3/27/20

    COVID-19: 34 States Have Section 1135 Waivers as of 3/27/20

    By CMS -

    CMS approved additional state Medicaid waiver requests under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act (Act), bringing the total number of approved Section 1135 waivers for states to 34. The waivers were approved within days of states’ submitting them, and offer states new flexibilities to focus their resources on combating the outbreak and providing the best possible care to Medicaid beneficiaries in their states. The waivers were approved within days of states' submitting them, and offer states new flexibilities to focus their resources on combating the outbreak and providing the best possible care to Medicaid beneficiaries in their states.

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