On March 25, CMS hosted a national call for nursing home providers. CMS reviewed the latest guidance related to the re-prioritization of surveys for all provider-types. More information on survey prioritization can be found here. This guidance directs, in part, that CMS will be conducting targeted infection control surveys during a 3-week prioritization period when most other survey activities are suspended (excepting immediate jeopardy situations). CMS has clarified that these surveys will be conducted in nursing homes that currently have no active COVID-19 within the facility but are located in areas with COVID-19 activity.

CMS also reviewed the new infection control survey tool released with CMS memo QSO-20-20-ALL. This tool builds upon previous infection control survey tools but has been adapted for COVID-19 considerations. LeadingAge is developing a supplemental tool to be used along with the CMS tool to assist members in preparing for and responding to COVID-19. CMS notes that they have developed the infection control survey tool in conjunction with CDC. While providers are welcome to utilize the CDC tool, CMS continues to recommend use of the CMS tool for self-assessment and may ask for this tool upon survey.

CMS additionally plans to release in coming days a Frequently Asked Questions document related to hot topics such as visitors, vendors, and healthcare worker access, as well as releasing more information on the 1135 waivers. LeadingAge has submitted waiver requests on behalf of hospice, home health, and nursing homes, and will share information as available.

The March 25 CMS call was recorded and will be available on the CMS website in the coming days. CMS announced that they will host these calls regularly, including a call next week that will feature Dan Reingold, President and CEO of LeadingAge member Riverspring Health. We will share call-in information as it becomes available.