Operators could face fines up to $8,000 if they don’t comply with new federal regulations that mandate nursing homes routinely  test all staff members for COVID-19. 

Providers also will be required to test residents and staff in the event of a new case or if someone shows symptoms, the new regulations say.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services disclosed the new regulatory changes in late August. The move is part of an overall effort by the federal government to identify asymptomatic staff and residents who may be infected and could transmit the virus in facilities, CMS Administrator Seema Verma explained.

Surveyors can cite facilities for noncompliance with the new regulations. Cited providers would be required to implement a plan of correction and follow other regulatory instructions. 

Fines for noncompliance will start at $400 per day and can range up to $8,000, with termination from the Medicare and Medicaid programs the ultimate punishment. 

Providers also could face denial of payment for new admissions.

“These new rules represent a dramatic acceleration of our efforts to track and control the spread of COVID-19, especially in nursing homes,” Verma said. “Reporting of test results and other data … give providers on the front lines what they need to fight [the virus].”