Nursing home and other providers can expect follow-up guidance on the federal government’s healthcare worker COVID-19 vaccination rule, including clarification on surveyor compliance, in “a week or two,” according to a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services agency spokesman.
“CMS, as with every rule or most rules that [the agency] releases, we typically issue sub regulatory guidance,” the spokesman said during a nursing home stakeholder call on Tuesday.
“We plan to do so for this rule, as well,” he added.
The spokesman later added that the timeframe for the additional guidance is “going to be very soon” though he couldn’t offer any additional details.
“It’s a matter of days, [or] a week or two, or so. I can’t give a specific timeframe but we understand that this needs to get out on the street as soon as possible so it won’t be long,” he said.
The comments came after officials answered questions regarding vaccination requirements for news hires and surveyors.
Officials explained that new hires can provide services to residents as long as they have received one dose of the vaccine. Facilities, however, would need to implement additional precautions for those individuals since they are not fully vaccinated. The follow-up guidance will address what those additional precautions can be.
Additionally, a CMS spokesman added the agency also will address the question about whether or not surveyors will be required to be fully vaccinated before going into facilities. The vaccination rule currently states that providers are not allowed to restrict access to surveyors based on their vaccination status or ask them for proof of vaccination as a condition of entry.
Providers have continued to press the agency on the matter.
“We will develop additional guidance for state and federal, and CMS-contracted surveyors but for right now it is the responsibility of the state agency to ensure the safety of the surveyors,” the spokesman said Tuesday.