Cold Storage, Medicaid Coverage: Inside the Walgreens, CVS Vaccination Deal for Nursing Homes

The federal government last week tapped a pair of retail pharmacy giants to distribute an eventual COVID-19 vaccine to nursing home residents across the country, and while there remain significant questions about the logistics of distributing an as-yet-unapproved vaccine, officials have continued to position the plan as the only workable solution to a massive public […]

COVID-19 Antigen Test Confusion Highlights Need for Better Federal Guidance for SNFs, Experts Say

One state’s ban on the use of point-of-care tests for COVID-19 in skilled nursing facilities has been withdrawn after sharp criticism from the assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). But the incident highlights the confusion around the use of the tests – and the need for clearer federal guidance on […]

HHS Warns Against Using Antigen Results for Nursing Home Cohorting, But Sharply Criticizes State Ban

A top U.S. coronavirus testing czar had harsh words for a Nevada directive banning the use of antigen point-of-care COVID-19 tests in skilled nursing facilities during a press call on Friday, calling it “an uninformed and unlawful unilateral prohibition.” But Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) assistant secretary for health Adm. Brett Giroir also […]

HHS Releases $20B More in CARES Act Relief, But Warns: Don’t Wait to Apply

The federal government on Thursday announced an additional tranche of $20 billion in coronavirus relief funding for a wide swath of health care providers, with the caveat that interested parties should apply as soon as possible. Starting October 5, the Department of Health and Human Services will begin accepting applications for the Phase 3 General […]

Backed By HHS — and Up to $237M — Nursing Home Action Network Targets Infection Control

As part of an effort to bolster the implementation of evidence-based infection prevention and safety in nursing homes, a federal agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is establishing a National Nursing Home COVID Action Network, supported financially by the Provider Relief Fund. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part […]

HHS, FEMA Release New Framework for ‘Crisis Standards of Care’ in Nursing Homes Amid COVID

A federal working group this week released a new report outlining how nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should marshal limited resources during future COVID-19 outbreaks and other public health crises. As operators stare down the fall flu season and the continued risk of coronavirus spread, leaders should focus on identifying the top challenges […]

HHS: Antigen COVID-19 False Positives Do Not Exceed Expectations, Depend on Population Spread

The rate of false positive results from point-of-care COVID-19 testing units sent to nursing homes has not been higher than anticipated, a top federal official in charge of the program asserted Friday. “The last thing you said is wrong, that it was in excess of expectation,” Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) assistant health […]

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 […]

25% of Nursing Homes Report at Least One Point-of-Care False COVID Positive as CMS Probes Reasons Why

About a quarter of nursing homes have seen at least one false positive COVID-19 result during an ongoing federal push to provide point-of-care antigen testing at most facilities across the country, according to an industry-led survey. “We found that about 20-25 percent of SNFs had a positive antigen test result later found to be incorrect […]

Increased Nursing Home Data Reporting Could Bring ‘Perfect Storm’ of Federal Lawsuits

Under regulations instituted as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, skilled nursing facilities are reporting a wealth of information to the federal government — on top of all the information they were required to submit pre-pandemic. And that information could end up being the guiding light for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) […]

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 […]

FBI Investigating Nursing Home with Hundreds of COVID-19 Cases: Report

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating a nursing home in Beaver County, Pa., where more than 300 residents and staff were infected with COVID-19 and at least 73 residents and a housekeeper died. TribLive, the website of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, first reported the news. Investigators with the agency on Thursday served warrants at […]

Giroir: With PCR Tests Out of Reach For Most Nursing Homes, Antigen Testing ‘Is Clearly a Life-Saving Option’

The nation’s top COVID-19 testing official gave more insight into the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) efforts to expedite and expand the use of rapid point-of-care antigen testing in skilled nursing facilities across the U.S. during a media briefing held Tuesday. HHS announced on Monday that it was expanding coverage for licensed 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 […]

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 […]