To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
Re: COVID-19 Updates: Deadline for Baseline Testing; Waiver of Paid Feeding Assistant Training
Date: May 14, 2020
Deadline Approaching for Nursing Facility Baseline Testing Requirement
Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services yesterday emailed to nursing facilities the message below regarding the May 25th baseline testing requirement for residents and staff, indicating that facilities wishing to pursue testing through state-directed methods (COVID Command Center Congregate Care Mobile Testing Program call center), must call the call center at 617-366-2350 to request testing no later than Monday, May 18th, at 4 PM.
On April 27, the Administration announced a comprehensive nursing home accountability and support policy which includes up to $130 million in new funding to support long care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. To access this support package, nursing facilities are required to conduct baseline testing of staff and residents. Testing must be completed by May 25 in order for facilities to be eligible for the enhanced funding. To date, only 10% of nursing facilities have met this requirement.
Nursing facilities wishing to pursue testing through state-directed methods (COVID Command Center Congregate Care Mobile Testing Program call center), must:
- Call the call center at 617-366-2350 to request testing no later than Monday, May 18th, at 4 PM
- Confirm with the call center that your facility is ready with paperwork to be scheduled no later than Wednesday, May 20th, at 4 PM. The call center will work with you to ensure the requisition requirements are met
Nursing facilities that have not called to request testing by Monday, May 18th, at 4 PM, will not be able to make use of the COVID Command Center Congregate Care Mobile Testing Program and will have to use an alternate testing channel to meet requirements before May 25th.
Mass Senior Care notes that for those facilities that are self-originating the testing, here is a list of nursing facility testing providers:
- Transformative – A collaborative of EMS providers have come together to provide baseline mobile testing to nursing facilities. Facilities can access the service via www.fallonambulance.com/covidtesting.
- Community Health Centers – Working with Mass Senior Care, Mass League of Community Health Centers has identified a number of community health centers who are interested in assisting nursing facilities with testing staff. Several centers may be willing to test residents as well. Please see the list of interested Community Health Centers.
To assist members with staffing disruptions, below is a list of Mass Senior Care Associate Members which provide temporary nursing services:
CMS Waiver on Paid Feeding Assistant Training
Paid Feeding Assistants. (New since 4/30 Release) CMS is modifying the requirements at 42 CFR §§ 483.60(h)(1)(i) and 483.160(a) regarding required training of paid feeding assistants. Specifically, CMS is modifying the minimum timeframe requirements in these sections, which require this training to be a minimum of 8 hours. CMS is modifying to allow that the training can be a minimum of 1 hour in length. CMS is not waiving any other requirements under 42 CFR §483.60(h) related to paid feeding assistants or the required training content at 42 CFR §483.160(a)(1)-(8), which contains infection control training and other elements. Additionally, CMS is also not waiving or modifying the requirements at 42 CFR §483.60(h)(2)(i), which requires that a feeding assistant must work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN).