To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
RE: COVID-19 Updates: HHS Approves Funding Allocation for Private Pay Assisted Living; Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Tests to be Delivered to ALRs; CDC Updates NHSN Module to Include POC Testing Questions; CDC Releases Considerations for Use of SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Testing in Nursing Homes
Date: September 2, 2020
HHS Approves Funding Allocation for Private Pay Assisted Living
Last night, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that private-pay assisted living/memory care providers will be eligible to apply for CARES Act Provider Relief Funds under the current Phase 2 General Distribution round of funding.
Like other providers applying for Phase 2 funding, eligible assisted living communities will receive 2 percent of their annual revenue from patient care and will have until September 13, 2020 to begin their application. Please visit the Provider Relief Fund webpage for more information.
Rapid, Antigen Tests to be Delivered to Assisted Living Communities
It was also announced by an HHS official yesterday that the federal government plans to ship rapid COVID-19 tests to assisted living communities across the country. The tests will come from a supply of 150 million ordered from test maker Abbott Laboratories, and are expected to be delivered in the coming two to three weeks.
We will continue to provide updates on both of these topics as they become available.
CDC Updates National Healthcare Safety Network Module to Include
Point of Care Testing Questions
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Resident Impact and Facility Capacity pathway to include four new questions relating to the use of Point of Care testing. These include:
- Does the LTCF have an in-house point-of-care test machine (capability to perform COVID-19 testing within your facility)? Yes/No Answer
- Since the last date of data entry in the Module, how many COVID-19 point-of-care tests has the LTCF performed on residents? Enter a specific number
- Since the last date of data entry in the Module, how many COVID-19 point-of-care tests has the LTCF performed on staff and/or facility personnel? Enter a specific number
- Based on this week’s inventory, do you have enough supplies to test all staff and/or facility personnel for COVID-19 using the point-of-care test machine? Yes/No Answer
The CDC also added important information, including:
- Clarification on CONFIRMED Notes section to address differences in testing devices and clarity of positive COVID-19 test results; and
- How to recognize and report reinfections to align with patients who have persistent or recurring positive test results.
The NHSN will host a webinar entitled NHSN Updates for LTC COVID-19 Module & responses to Common Module Questions on Thursday, September 3 at 1 pm Eastern. Participants can register and review archived webinars here.
CDC Releases Considerations for Use of
SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Testing in Nursing Homes
The CDC guidance expands upon the recently published “Interim Guidance for Rapid Antigen Test for SARS-CoV-2” and should be used to guide the interpretation of antigen testing results in the following circumstances:
- Testing of symptomatic residents and healthcare personnel (HCP)
- Testing of asymptomatic residents and HCP in facilities as part of a COVID-19 outbreak response
- Testing of asymptomatic HCP in facilities without a COVID-19 outbreak as required by CMS regulation.
The CDC has also developed a printable algorithm that visually proceeds through the considerations for testing asymptomatic and symptomatic residents or HCP. It provides clarification for when, and if, a confirmatory RT-PCR test is needed. Please note, this algorithm should be used as a guide, but clinical decisions may deviate from this guide if indicated.