CMS Issues New Reporting and Testing Requirements for Nursing Homes

COVID-19; CMS
​Nursing homes now required to test staff and offer testing to residents

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today issued an interim final rule with comment period that revises regulations in several areas for long term care facilities and other providers. Importantly, this rule establishes a new requirement for long term care facilities for COVID-19 testing of residents and staff.  CMS did not establish a specific frequency or criteria for testing in the rule but listed potential criteria that will be considered and addressed further in guidance. 

The regulations are effective immediately upon their publication at the Office of the Federal Register, which has not occurred yet. Most of the new regulations are applicable only for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. CMS is providing a 60-day comment period for public input on these requirements. 

Here is a high-level summary of the new testing requirements. A more detailed analysis and summary of additional provisions in the rule will follow. 

AHCA continues to advocate for access to, and systems to support, reliable testing with rapid results for skilled nursing facility residents and staff.

We will also continue to advocate that CMS guidance on the implementation of routine testing requirements for nursing homes acknowledges ongoing challenges with access to testing supplies and timely testing results. This includes flexibility to implement evolving knowledge about optimal uses of and approaches to testing, and does not penalize providers for factors beyond their control.

Please email COVID19@ahca.org for questions, or visit ahcancal.org/coronavirus for more information.