Nursing homes that have not reported required resident and staff vaccination rates to federal officials will get a one-week reprieve before the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services begins assessing penalties, a provider organization said Monday.
Reporting requirements went into effect last month, with enforcement through civil monetary penalties originally slated to begin this morning.
But Ruth Katz, senior vice president of policy for LeadingAge, told providers on a coronavirus conference call that penalties will now be meted out to providers who do not report information by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday (June 20).
Based on figures posted publicly last Thursday, less than 30% of skilled nursing providers had reportedly sent vaccination data for the week of May 30 to the National Health Safety Network.
That share jumped significantly over the weekend, with about 13,000 providers now reporting, said Katz, one of several provider group leaders to meet with new CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure for the first time Monday afternoon.
Katz said the delay announcement came directly from Brooks-LaSure, who was confirmed May 25.
“They are looking now to the additional 2,000 to 2,5000 for the rest of that reporting,” Katz said. “They also made it clear that there will be some technical assistance available to those who need it from QIOs and CDC.”
Details on that support were not yet available Monday afternoon.
As of Thursday, when submissions through May 30 were first posted publicly, only about 750 of the 15,000-plus U.S. nursing homes had reached a staff vaccination level of 75% or better. But CMS expected that number to rise as more reports came in, and officials predicted more would arrive close to the deadline.
The new data submission requirement was first announced with the issuance of an interim rule May 11. The rule also requires providers to educate residents and staff about COVID-19 vaccines and to offer shots. The rule is final, but CMS is accepting comments on it through July 12.
Long-term care providers previously had been required to report COVID-19 testing, case and mortality data via the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Safety Network, but they had not been required to report vaccination data until recently.
In announcing the new weekly reporting requirement a month ago, officials said it would help increase transparency among vaccination efforts and help health authorities focus attention and resources on providers most in need.