On April 19, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an entity responsible for enforcing safety standards in long-term care facilities, issued a notice regarding communicable disease reporting requirements under the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Under the notice, CMS announced that it would soon issue new guidance to long-term care facilities regarding reporting information pertaining to COVID-19 infection through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Health Safety Network system. Under current federal regulatory requirements and CDC guidance, long-term care facilities are only required to report to state and local health departments regarding residents or staff with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection, residents with severe respiratory infection resulting in hospitalization or death, or three or more residents or staff with new-onset respiratory symptoms within 72 hours. The new anticipated mandate will require long-term care facilities to report this information directly to the CDC. CMS reserved its rights to retain and publicly report the information reported to the CDC.
Also, CMS will set standards for reporting COVID-19 information to residents and their representatives. Under anticipated directives, facilities will be required, at a minimum, to notify residents and their representatives of a confirmed COVID-19 infection within 12 hours and/or if three or more residents or staff experience new-onset of respiratory symptoms within 72 hours. Facilities will also be required to provide information regarding strategies implemented to prevent or mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection, including if normal facility operations will be altered. Facilities that fail to abide by these requirements may face CMS enforcement actions.
For more information regarding how this CMS notice will affect long-term care facilities and individual health care providers, please contact: