Nursing home providers in Rhode Island are pushing back against the state’s decision to ease COVID-19 testing requirements for patients discharged from hospitals and into long-term care facilities.
The Rhode Island Department of Health’s guidance, which went into effect in late August, only requires patients being discharged from a hospital to a nursing home to have one negative coronavirus test, instead of the previous two. The rule applies to patients who haven’t previously had the disease or those whose COVID-19 status was unknown, the Providence Journal reported.
“For the safety of our residents, a second test is going to catch a number of COVID cases that can be stopped before they get into the nursing homes,” Scott Fraser, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Health Care Association, told the news agency.
The move reverts back to the state’s initial testing requirements for patients being discharged from hospitals to nursing homes at the start of the pandemic. They later changed course in mid-April to require two negative tests from that population.
“Two negative tests has been shown to be a good policy, and we think it should be kept,” Fraser added.
State policies regarding testing of hospital patients before being moved into long-term care facilities has been a controversial issue throughout the public health crisis.
Several states — with the most prominent being New York — have continuously faced severe criticism for implementing rules that at one time required providers to accept hospital patients regardless of their COVID-19 status. New York later reversed course and now requires discharged hospital patients to test negative for the disease before being admitted into nursing homes.