On May 18, 2020, CMS released formal recommendations for reopening nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. These recommendations are provided to help determine the level of mitigation needed to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. The recommendation includes the following:
- Criteria for relaxing certain restrictions and mitigating the risk of resurgence
- Visitation and service considerations
- Restoration of Survey Activities
The guidance states that relaxing restrictions should be made with careful review of many factors and should not be taken lightly. These factors include case status in the community, case status in the nursing home, adequate staffing, access to adequate testing, universal source control, access to adequate PPE, and local hospital capacity.
These recommendations are split into phases. Guidance states that nursing homes should not advance through any of the phases of reopening until all residents and staff have received a base-line test and the appropriate actions are taken based on the results. States should survey those nursing homes that experiences a significant COVID-19 outbreak prior to reopening to ensure the facility is adequately preventing the transmission of COVID-19. Finally, nursing homes should remain in the current state of highest mitigation while the community is in Phase 1 of Opening Up America Again. This means that a nursing home’s reopening should generally lag behind the community by 14 days.
If you have any questions or concerns about this guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out.