Nursing homes could soon be subject to more coronavirus testing and reporting regulations.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is expected to announce mandatory COVID-19 testing and reporting requirements for nursing homes this week, according to a report Monday in the New York Post.
Providers will be required to offer tests to patients if anyone at the facility either contracts the disease or exhibits symptoms, according to the federal documents the news organization said it obtained. Staff members also would be required to undergo mandatory testing, while nursing facilities would be required to publicly report test reports.
Documents also revealed that nursing homes using point-of-care testing devices that are being distributed by the federal government will be required to report diagnostic test results and costs, the article said.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma called the move a “dramatic ramp-up in our efforts to track and control the spread of COVID-19, especially in nursing homes,” according to the report.
CMS did not respond to a request by McKnight’s for confirmation or elaboration of the New York Post’s report by production deadline. The American Health Care Association and LeadingAge both declined comment on the Post’s report, noting they had not yet seen any notification from federal authorities on the matter yet.
Nursing home providers are currently required to disclose COVID-19-related infections directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network system.
The latest CMS nursing home data shows that there have been more than 48,200 coronavirus deaths and nearly 189,000 cases among nursing home residents in the United States. It is widely acknowledged, however, that inconsistent reporting may be depressing those numbers. A Wall Street Journal report indicated that numbers for senior care facilities are even higher — with more than 70,000 deaths so far.