Provider concerns about surveyors potentially spreading COVID-19 throughout facilities due to a lack of required testing before entering may be justified after a report that a health department employee may have exposed residents and staff to the disease during an audit. 

The incident occurred following a surveyor visit in early April at the Pelham Parkway Nursing Center & Rehabilitation Facility, a 200-bed nursing home in Bronx, NY, Fox News reported

The team of surveyors declined to be COVID-19 tested prior to entering the building, despite state guidance that strongly encourages all visitors to be tested before entering a nursing home. 

Four days after the audit, the facility was informed that one of the surveyors had tested positive for COVID-19. 

Industry stakeholders have long requested that COVID-19 testing mandates for state and federal surveyors, as well as for hospital workers and contractors, be similar to the ongoing, required on-site testing for nursing home employees.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the past has said it’s considering requiring services to be tested for COVID-19 before entering facilities.

New York state officials have noted that state surveyors are tested two times per week, but at an offsite location. Some sources have expressed “frustration that the health department appears to be playing by a different set of rules, alleging that surveyors do not need to show proof of a negative COVID test before entering the facilities,” the report stated.