CMS Releases Revised Guidance on Vaccine Mandate IFR

CMS has released revised interpretive guidance for the COVID-19 vaccine mandate interim final rule (IFR). Three memoranda have been updated, including QSO-22-07-ALL-Revised, QSO-22-09-ALL-Revised, and QSO-22-11-ALL-Revised.
The revisions were made to clarify the expectations for assessing compliance with the requirement to ensure all staff are vaccinated. AHCA/NCAL has highlighted key revisions below, but providers are encouraged to review the Long-Term Care and Skilled Nursing Facility Attachment A-Revised, as well as the applicable memo listed above, for detailed changes.

CMS Adds Staffing Measures to Five Star Rating System

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted QSO memo 22-08-NH last week indicating that it will begin posting staffing turnover and weekend staffing levels for each nursing home on the Medicare.gov Care Compare website​ in January and add the measures to staffing domain of Five Star Rating system in July 2022.
  • Weekend Staffing: The level of total nurse (RN, LPN & CNA) and registered nurse (RN) staffing on weekends provided by each nursing home over a quarter.  This will be reported as average hours worked per resident per day on weekends.
  • Staff Turnover:
    • ​The percent of RN staff that left the facility over the last year.
    • The percent of total nurse staff that have left the facility over the last year.
    • The number of administrators that have left the facility over the last year.
The technical specifications for weekend staffing and staff turnover measures will be included in the Five Star Rating System Technical Users’ Guide on January 14, 2022.

Find out more at https://bit.ly/3Ai2VLo

CMS Updates Guidance for Emergency Preparedness Regulations

Today, CMS posted a Quality, Safety, and Oversight Group (QSO) memo updating the State Operations Manual (SOM) Appendix Z that outlines emergency preparedness (EP) requirements. The SOM has been updated to reflect the revisions made within the 2019 final rule Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Regulatory Provisions to Promote Program Efficiency, Transparency, and Burden Reduction (CoPs) (CMS 3346-F). CMS has also added new guidance related to Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) outbreaks, including best practices, lessons learned, and general recommendations for planning and preparedness.
This guidance is effective immediately. CMS is currently working on relevant updates to the Emergency Preparedness Basic Surveyor Training Course which will be available at a later date.
The changes are extensive, and members are encouraged to review the complete QSO memo​ in full. AHCA/NCAL has also provided a high-level summar​y​ of the memo.

 

CMS Issues New Nursing Facility COVID Testing FAQs

CMS has released FAQs related to new guidance on testing in nursing facilities. The FAQs address long-standing questions posed from providers. The questions address various issues including false negatives with point of care antigen tests, triggering of outbreak status, testing of emergency medical personnel and clarification on turnaround time for tests. The FAQs can be found here

Targeted COVID-19 Training for Nursing Homes.

Nursing home providers can now participate in an “unprecedented” infection control training program designed to help them better manage COVID-19 in their facilities.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released details about the program Tuesday. The program was originally announced in late July as part of an additional $5 billion in coronavirus relief funding for nursing homes.

The program, which is available immediately to all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes, is a tailored course that incorporates the most recent lessons learned by nursing homes during the ongoing pandemic. It also features best practices that frontline workers can implement to fight COVID-19 in their facilities, CMS Administrator Seema Verma explained during a press call Tuesday.

Read more at https://bit.ly/3llaby5

For more information or to register https://qsep.cms.gov/COVID-Training-Instructions.aspx

 

CMS: 6 Steps Nursing Homes Can Take to Avoid Preventable Harm.

A new federal report delves into the first steps nursing home leaders can take to avoid preventable harm to their residents. This 60-page resource from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was released late last year and created with the Quality Innovation Network National Coordinating Center.

The report also includes a two-page appendix with six strategies SNFs can pursue to get started.

  1. Shore Up Staffing.
  2. Know the residents and their needs and plan care with them.
  3. Prevent, identify, and address gaps in care.
  4. Promote excellent multidisciplinary team work.
  5. Provide tangible leadership engagement with staff and residents.
  6. Ensure excellent, competent, available, continuous care—onsite.