COVID-19 Module for Long-Term Care Facilities Now Live in NHSN System

Regulation | April 29, 2020 | by Jodi Eyigor

The COVID-19 module for long-term care facilities, developed in relation to forthcoming rulemaking announced by CMS April 19 that will require nursing homes to report COVID-19 data to CDC, is available on CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) system ahead of the federal rule.

The CDC COVID-19 module for long-term care facilities is now available on the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) system website. LeadingAge notes that the federal rule, announced by CMS on April 19, has still not been released. In the absence of rulemaking or further guidance from CMS, reporting is not yet required. We expect communication from CMS on this reporting soon.

For nursing homes and other long-term care facilities previously enrolled in the NHSN system, the module is immediately available. For those not enrolled previously, 2 options for enrollment are now available. Either option will meet forthcoming requirements for reporting.

Long-term care facilities can complete full enrollment, which includes an identity verification and may take several days. Full enrollment gives facilities access to benchmarking data and additional resources through the NHSN network, including the ability to utilize existing modules for certain healthcare-associated infections.

For providers wishing to simply submit data to meet regulatory requirements, an expedited enrollment process is now available. This expedited enrollment skips the identity verification step and can give providers same-day access to the module for reporting.

CDC will host 2 live trainings to help providers prepare:

  • COVID-19 Module Overview for Long-Term Care Facilities: Thursday, April 30, 1:30 – 3:00pm EST
  • COVID-19 Enrollment Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities: Friday, May 1, 1:30 – 3:00pm EST

Access the module, enrollment, training, and additional resources at this link: https://www.cdc.gov/nhsn/ltc/covid19/index.html

Recall that in the absence of rulemaking, details of reporting requirements are unknown. Among lingering questions, LeadingAge is seeking guidance from CMS on the following:

  • How frequently will facilities be required to submit data?
  • Will facilities be able to retroactively submit data without penalty?

Additionally, LeadingAge continues to advocate with both CMS and Congress for one universal reporting system to streamline reporting requirements for providers. With existing federal and state requirements and the pending federal requirements for reporting CDC, providers are often submitting the same or similar data to multiple government entities. With both CMS and CDC promising the availability of collected data to local, state, and federal entities, we urge efficient policies that allow providers to focus time on resident care rather than data collection and duplicative reporting.