LeadingAge is warning that duplicative reporting under newly announced federal COVID-19 reporting requirements for nursing homes could be a “disaster” for providers. 

“We don’t actually know exactly what [the reporting program is] going to look like, but we do know that this is really a recipe for unfortunate disaster, because it looks like you will be required to report differently than the reporting to state and local governments,” Marsha Greenfield, LeadingAge’s vice president for health legislation said during a provider conference call Tuesday afternoon.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Sunday that nursing homes will be required to report any COVID-19 cases directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with being required to notify residents and families.

The requirement is in addition to current reporting mandates to local and state health departments. LeadingAge expressed concerns on the burdens of duplicative reporting following CMS’ announcement late Sunday evening. 

“Our goal is to have one reporting [mechanism]. If you have different reporting mechanisms, different things reported in different timeframes with different metrics, then it’s very confusing, it muddies the water and doesn’t give consumers [or] anybody information that is clear and concise and consistent across reporting mechanisms,” Greenfield said. 

She added that the organization is preparing a letter to CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services that will ask them to rescind the rule in order to prevent duplicative reporting burdens. 

“I think we all agree on transparency in reporting but the reporting should be one reporting [system], not multiple reportings, because the possibility of error is just so great,” Greenfield added. 

Do as hospitals do?

Jodi Eyigor, LeadingAge’s director for nursing home quality and policy, said there’s still “a lot we don’t know” about the forthcoming rule making and the reporting module providers will have to use under the new CMS guidance.

Earlier this week, CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated that rulemaking and coordination with the CDC would be finalized soon but didn’t specify when.  

Eyigor explained that the reporting module will be through the National Healthcare Safety Network System and the site already features a hospital reporting module, which providers can preview. 

“We don’t know that the nursing home module will look anything like that. We really have no idea what it’s going to look like,” she said. 

“The hospital module is recommended to be reported on a daily basis. It’s unclear if the nursing home module would follow that pattern or if there would be a different reporting schedule,” she added.