Citing ‘Over-Reliance’ on Nursing Homes, CMS Releases $165M for Community Transition Programs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday announced $165 million in supplemental funding to states currently operating Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration programs, specifically citing COVID-19 as a key reason to encourage the movement of individuals from the nursing home setting into community resources. “The tragic devastation wrought by the coronavirus […]

Senators Excoriate Federal Response to COVID-19 in Nursing Homes, Hint at Future ‘Reckoning’

In an update to a report issued in July, two Democratic senators had sharp words for the federal response to COVID-19 in U.S. nursing homes, arguing that the Trump administration has failed to take sufficient action to protect nursing home residents and workers from the pandemic. They pointed in particular to policy solutions that multiple […]

CMS: Federal Nursing Home Visitation Guidelines Generally Trump State Rules, But Integration Ongoing

The federal government’s sweeping new rules requiring nursing home visitations in most cases generally usurp state-developed requirements, a top official confirmed this week, but Washington is continuing to work with state governments to iron out any significant areas of conflict. “Generally speaking, state guidelines cannot conflict with federal requirements,” Evan Shulman, director of the Centers […]

Skilled Nursing Residents Shut Out of New End-Stage Renal Disease Payment Model

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Friday announced the finalization of a new kidney-care payment rule, but the regulation specifically exempts patients who are receiving their dialysis treatment in the nursing home. The End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Treatment Choices (ETC) Model is intended to test whether greater use of home dialysis and […]

CMS Updates Nursing Home Visitation Guidance with Eye Toward Indoor Reunions

The federal government on Thursday issued a new set of nursing home visitation guidelines, laying out a roadmap for resuming indoor visits based on community COVID-19 spread and emphasizing the importance of meeting residents’ psychosocial needs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled the new recommendations in a memo to directors of State […]

Federal Nursing Home Commission Calls on CMS to Adopt 27 Recommendations, ‘Reduce Suffering’

A special federal commission on nursing homes and COVID-19 on Wednesday released its formal report, focusing foremost on testing, personal protective equipment, and visitation as the nation’s long-term care facilities continue to grapple with the novel coronavirus. The Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes laid out 27 primary recommendations for the Centers […]

CMS Floats New Infection Control Quality Measure for Nursing Homes

The federal government this week opened a public comment period on a proposed new quality metric that would measure each nursing home’s ability to curb the spread of infections. The Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) Requiring Hospitalizations measure would track the rate of nursing home stays that result in acquired infections — specifically […]

CMS Formally Scraps MFAR, Averting Potential $50B in Medicaid Cuts

The head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Monday that the agency is withdrawing a controversial rule intended to overhaul Medicaid supplemental payments — a rule that could have put as much as $50 billion in jeopardy. “We’ve listened closely to concerns that have been raised by our state and provider […]

Verma Pushes Back on Criticism: ‘Administration Took Early, Rapid Action’ on Nursing Homes

After the New York Times editorial board published a piece criticizing the nation’s response to the effects of COVID-19 on nursing homes, the head of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) raised several objections on behalf of the Trump administration. “The administration took early, rapid action: We issued infection control guidance to prepare […]

Verma: CMS to Use ‘Enforcement Discretion’ with New Nursing Home Testing Rules

Nursing home leaders should document all attempts to test workers for COVID-19 under strict new rules, officials said this week, as the federal government looks to balance enforcement with the reality of continued hurdles on the ground. “We want to ensure that we’re using enforcement discretion. We know that as we’re implementing this, there’s going […]

HHS Will Send 750K Abbott Point-of-Care Tests to Nursing Homes Next Week

The federal government will release approximately 750,000 point-of-care COVID-19 tests from manufacturer Abbott to nursing homes next week in a separate, parallel initiative that builds on a previously announced push to bring coronavirus tests directly to facilities’ doors. Initially positioned as a way to ramp up testing in schools, a Department of Health and Human […]

HHS Confirms Value-Based Structure for Coming $2B in Nursing Home Aid

The federal government on Thursday confirmed the value-based structure of the remaining $2 billion in federal aid to nursing homes, with facilities that beat baseline COVID-19 infection and mortality rates set to receive more relief. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will structure the remaining distribution as a kind of monthly contest, with […]

CMS Finalizes Nursing Home Compare Overhaul with Launch of Consolidated Site

The federal government on Thursday announced the completion of a plan to fold its consumer-facing Nursing Home Compare website into a larger database of public information on a variety of health care providers. Now known as Care Compare, the overhauled Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) site compiles information about nursing homes, home health […]

HHS Expands Coverage of Point-of-Care Tests for Nursing Home COVID-19 Screening, Superseding State Bans

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Monday that it is extending coverage for prescribing or administering point-of-care COVID-19 tests to screen for the illness in congregate settings such as skilled nursing facilities. The move overrules state directives that restrict or ban outright the use of such tests. The extension of coverage under […]

As CMS Cracks Down on Nursing Home Testing, Questions Remain on Logistics: ‘You Cannot Fine Your Way Out of a Pandemic’

The federal government last week cracked down on COVID-19 testing in nursing homes, with a host of new fines exceeding $8,000 per instance, but some industry leaders — and a prominent geriatrician — have raised concerns about whether providers can meet the new benchmarks, or whether the plan will have the intended effects. “You cannot […]

Parkinson: Test Nursing Home Staff Weekly Even if Not Required, Develop a Compliance Plan by Next Week

The leader of the largest trade group for U.S. nursing homes on Thursday advised operators to exceed new federal COVID-19 testing mandates whenever possible, while emphasizing the importance of planning for complying with the new regulations as soon as next week. “I would be testing, once a week, all staff. I would be doing that […]

Feds to Require Nursing Home Staff Testing as Often as Twice Weekly, But Antigen Follow-Ups Not Always Needed

Nursing homes will be required to test staffers for COVID-19 as often as twice weekly depending on the prevalence of the virus in the surrounding community, and a top federal official emphasized that repeat testing for negative antigen results may not be necessarily required in all cases. The White House late Tuesday initially revealed the […]

HHS to Release $2.5B in Nursing Home COVID Relief This Week

As the federal government moves to mandate more frequent COVID-19 testing in nursing homes, half of the latest tranche of $5 billion in relief will be sent to facilities this week, the White House announced late Tuesday. “The first $2.5 billion of these funds will be distributed this week to help many nursing homes cover […]