As part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts taken in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), following is a summary of recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) actions. To keep up with the important Task Force work being done in response to COVID-19, click here www.coronavirus.gov. For information specific to CMS, please visit the CMS News Room and Current Emergencies Website. CMS updates these resources on an ongoing basis throughout the day; the information below is current as of May 15, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Deadline Approaching: Notification Requirements of Confirmed and Suspected COVID-19 Cases Among Nursing Home Residents and Staff
On April 19, CMS announced the agency will be requiring facilities to report COVID-19 information to the CDC and to families. Within three weeks of that announcement, on April 30, CMS issued an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period with new regulatory requirements. With the new regulatory requirements, nursing homes are required to report the first week of data to the CDC beginning May 8 but no later than May 17. For the first time, all 15,000 nursing homes will be reporting this data directly to the CDC through its reporting tool.
In order to report, facilities must enroll in the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). Information on how to enroll is available here. As nursing homes report this data to the CDC, CMS will be taking swift action and publicly posting this information so all Americans have access to accurate and timely information on COVID-19 in nursing homes. More information on the CDC’s NHSN COVID-19 module can be found here.
CMS Releases Nursing Home Toolkit with Best Practices and Additional Resources
CMS released a new toolkit developed to aid nursing homes, Governors, states, departments of health, and other agencies who provide oversight and assistance to these facilities. These additional resources will help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic within nursing homes. The toolkit builds on previous actions taken by CMS, which provide a wide range of tools and guidance to states, healthcare providers and others during the public health emergency. The toolkit is comprised of best practices from a variety of front line health care providers, Governors’ COVID-19 task forces, associations and other organizations, and experts, and is intended to serve as a catalogue of resources dedicated to addressing the specific challenges facing nursing homes as they combat COVID-19.
Trump Administration Announces Call for Nominations for Nursing Home Commission
CMS announced a call for nominations for the new contractor-led Coronavirus Commission on Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes. The commission’s work will build on the Trump Administration’s long history of decisive actions to protect nursing home residents. The commission will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes and will inform immediate and future actions to safeguard the health and quality of life for an especially vulnerable population of Americans.
CMS Outlines Medicaid Managed Care Options in Responding to COVID-19
CMS released a new Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services Informational Bulletin (CIB) that provides states guidance on how to temporarily modify their Medicaid managed care contracts to address the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The guidance provides several options that states can consider to adjust provider payment methodologies and capitation rates within Medicaid managed care contracts while preserving systems of care and access to services for Medicaid beneficiaries.
CMS Gives States Additional Flexibility to Address Coronavirus Pandemic
CMS has approved over 190 requests for state relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including recent approvals for California, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, and Rhode Island. These approvals help to ensure that states have the tools they need to combat COVID-19. This is done through a wide variety of waivers, amendments, and Medicaid state plan flexibilities, including support for programs that care for the elderly and people with disabilities. CMS also developed a toolkit to expedite the application and review of each request and has approved these requests in record time. These approved flexibilities support President Trump’s commitment to a COVID-19 response that is locally executed, state managed, and federally supported.