To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
Re: COVID-19 Updates: DPH Updates LTC Surveillance Testing Guidance; CMS Launches National Training Program; CMS Issues Two QSO Memos on Staff Testing and CLIA Reporting Requirements; AHCA Member Webinar Tomorrow on CMS Testing Requirements
Date: August 27, 2020
DPH Updates Long-Term Care Surveillance Testing Guidance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently shared an updated guideline for healthcare workers, Duration of Isolation and Precautions for Adults with COVID-19. DPH has updated the Long-Term Care Surveillance Testing guidance related to the management and care of individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.
Previously Positive Individuals Cleared from Isolation
For the purposes of the surveillance testing program, recovered or previously COVID-19 positive residents and staff do not need to be re-tested; however, it is clinically recommended for individuals previously diagnosed with COVID-19 to be retested under the following circumstance:
- Individuals who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19, and who develop clinically compatible symptoms, may warrant being retested if they are more than three months past their release from isolation and an alternate etiology cannot be identified by a provider. If viral RNA is detected by PCR testing, the patient should be isolated and considered to be re-infected.
- Individuals who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 and who are identified as a close contact of a confirmed case should be subject to quarantine if they are more than three months from their release from isolation. These individuals may quarantine in place.
CMS Launches National Training Program
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the launch of its national nursing home training program for frontline nursing home staff and nursing home management. The training, called “CMS Targeted COVID-19 Training for Frontline Nursing Home Staff & Management,” is available now on the CMS Quality, Safety & Education Portal. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the program, which consists of five specific modules designed for frontline clinical staff and ten designed for nursing home management.
In addition, CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will also have subject matter experts available on bi-weekly webinars from August 27, 2020, through January 7, 2021, from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern to answer questions. Participants must register for these question and answer sessions on the Zoom webinar registration page here.
At the time of the original announcement about the training in July, CMS noted that providers would be required to participate in an online infection control training program to be eligible for enhanced funding. Based on the latest announcement, participation in this training currently is voluntary and not tied to any funding. For more information about the training, click here.
CMS Issues Two QSO Memos on Staff Testing and CLIA Reporting Requirements:
QSO Memo 20-38-NH: Complying with 483.80(h) Testing of Staff Regulations and New F-tag (F-886)
CMS has issued a QSO memo 20-38 that outlines details on how to comply with new interim final rule 483.80(h) requiring COVID-19 testing of staff. AHCA has summarized the guidance, but it is recommended providers read the entire QSO memo as this regulation goes into effect as soon as the interim final rule is published in the Federal register. It is important for providers to note that the CMS requirements for testing are different than the current DPH LTC Surveillance Testing guidance.
CMS is requiring facilities to conduct three types of testing:
- Symptomatic Testing: Test any staff or residents who have signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- Outbreak Testing: Test all staff and residents in response to an outbreak (defined as any single new infection in staff or any nursing home onset infection in a resident) and continue to test all staff and residents that tested negative every 3-7 days until 14 days has passed since the most recent positive result.
- Routine Testing: Test all staff based on the extent of the virus in the community, using CMS’ published county positivity rate in the prior week as the trigger for staff testing frequency.
Additional requirements related to testing are further explained in AHCA’s summary. Mass Senior Care has created a crosswalk document between the DPH and CMS testing requirements. Mass Senior Care will continue to work with the DPH to align the State requirements with the CMS requirements for ongoing testing of staff and residents.
#2 QSO Memo 20-37-NH: Requirements of Reporting by Clinical Laboratory
Improvement Amendments (CLIA) Certified Labs
CMS has issued a QSO memo 20-37 that describes the survey frequency and citations and fines for not complying with CLIA regulations related to POC antigen testing.
AHCA Member Webinar Tomorrow with Mark Parkinson & Dr. David Gifford
New CMS Testing Requirements for Staff & Residents: What You Need to Know
Please join AHCA/NCAL for an all member webinar with President and CEO Mark Parkinson and Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Gifford tomorrow, Friday, August 28 at 11 a.m. Eastern on the interim final rule released this week.
As a reminder, the rule establishes a new requirement for nursing home facilities for COVID-19 testing of staff and residents. On tomorrow’s webinar, learn what providers can do now to successfully comply and implement the new requirements.
This webinar is for AHCA/NCAL facility members only.
Friday, August 28
11 a.m. Eastern
New CMS Testing Requirements for Staff & Residents: What you Need to Know
Please click here to register.