To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
Re: COVID-19 Update: MassHealth Issues COVID-19 Baseline and Surveillance Testing Requirements for NFs
Date: July 3, 2020
MassHealth Issues COVID-19 Baseline and Surveillance Testing Requirements for NFs (NF Bulletin 148)
EOHHS has issued MassHealth Nursing Facility Bulletin 148: COVID-19 Baseline and Surveillance Testing Requirements for Nursing Facilities. MassHealth is requiring that nursing facilities conduct baseline testing of 90% of their staff who previously tested negative no later than July 19th, as well as on-going surveillance testing of Staff beginning July 23, 2020, and testing of symptomatic or COVID-19 exposed residents or exposed Staff, as recommended by the guidance issued on June 30, 2020 by the Department of Public Health (DPH), titled Long Term Care Surveillance Testing. EOHHS will be issuing a related Administrative Bulletin specifying the funding payment method for surveillance testing. It is expected that MassHealth will fund $100 per test using the same supplemental payment process that was used for the original baseline testing.
MassHealth Nursing Facility Bulletin 148 specifies:
- Baseline Testing Requirement - Nursing facility providers are required to conduct baseline testing for COVID-19 on a minimum of 90 percent of their staff who worked, provided services, or volunteered at least once at the nursing facility’s physical location between July 1, 2020 and July 19, 2020. Staff does not include persons who have previously tested positive for COVID-19.
- Reporting Requirements and Attestation Requirements - Nursing facilities are required to submit a signed Attestation to CHIA (Appendix A of the Bulletin) and file a Reporting Survey Form, via a CHIA online survey, by 12:00 p.m. on Monday, July 20, 2020, after the baseline Testing Period. Facilities must also submit weekly reporting using the same online survey by 12:00 p.m. each Friday, beginning July 31, 2020. Nursing facilities must submit such weekly reporting, even if they are in a bi-weekly Testing Period.
- Requirement for Nursing Facilities to Facilitate Tests - Nursing facilities are required to secure or facilitate all COVID-19 testing of staff required by NF Bulletin 148, and must ensure that the testing is conducted at no cost to the staff members who must be tested. Nursing facilities may not require or encourage staff members to obtain testing on their own time or at their own cost. However, staff members may choose to facilitate and obtain their own testing under certain circumstances (such as through their own primary care practitioner or a rapid testing site due to possible COVID-19 exposure or symptoms).