To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
Re: COVID-19 Updates: Temporary Nursing Services Surge Rates Expire Today; COVID-19 Survey Activities
Date: June 30, 2020
Temporary Nursing Services (TNS) COVID-19 Surge Rates Expires Today
On May 8th, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services increased the Maximum Allowable Price for Temporary Nursing Services for a 2-month period covering May 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020. This temporary increase was designed to allow TNS agencies increased flexibility to address the potential for increased costs related to COVID-19 and the need to provide these critical services in alternate service locations. Please note that the authority for TNS agencies to charge these higher prices expires at the end of today as EOHHS has not extended the authorization. The Maximum Price will revert back to the pre-May 1st levels. Please note that the TNS regulations state that an agency’s price for a service provided to a nursing facility or hospital may not exceed the maximum price established in regulation. As per the TNS regulations, a TNS agency may not bill, receive payments, or propose to do business with a nursing facility or hospital at a rate greater than the rate established by EOHHS. If an agency violates this requirement, EOHHS may (a) notify the Department to suspend or revoke the agency’s request that the Attorney General bring an action to restrain or prevent the agency from operating.
COVID-19 Survey Activities
Mass Senior Care has heard from several members regarding “repeat” CMS Focused COVID 19 Surveys. Please note that in the June 1, 2020 CMS memo “COVID-19 Survey Activities, CARES Act Funding, Enhanced Enforcement for Infection Control deficiencies, and Quality Improvement Activities in Nursing Homes” CMS states:
In addition to completing the Focused Infection Control surveys of nursing homes, CMS is also requiring States to implement the following COVID-19 survey activities:
- Perform on-site surveys (within 30 days of this memo) of nursing homes with previous COVID-19 outbreaks, defined as:
- Cumulative confirmed cases/bed capacity at 10% or greater; or
- Cumulative confirmed plus suspected cases/bed capacity at 20% or greater; or
- Ten or more deaths reported due to COVID-19.
2. Perform on-site surveys (within three to five days of identification) of any nursing home with 3 or more new COVID-19 suspected and confirmed cases since the last National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) COVID-19 report, or 1 confirmed resident case in a facility that was previously COVID-free. State Survey Agencies are encouraged to communicate with their State Healthcare Associated Infection coordinators prior to initiating these surveys.
3. Starting in FY 2021, perform annual Focused Infection Control surveys of 20 percent of nursing homes based on State discretion or additional data that identifies facility and community risks.
These surveys are completely separate surveys and are not reliant upon a nursing home having a previous CMS Focused COVID-19 survey or the results of that previous survey. Please contact Helen Magliozzi with any questions.