COVID-19 has plagued SNFs for the past few months, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths across facilities in the U.S. Because of the ongoing pandemic, visitors are banned from facilities with the exception of end-of-life visits, but it’s important that each resident is granted thorough care despite the limitations facilities are currently facing. The following is an excerpt of the book Essential In-Services for Long-Term Care: Education for Frontline Staff, 2020 Edition, by Kelly Smith Papa, MSN, RN, available for purchase on the marketplace.
The novel coronavirus, also known by the more technical name of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is ravaging our nursing home industry and our society as a whole. Not too long ago, people were in close contact with one another with little more to worry about than the next influenza season. Now, over the last few months, our world has been turned upside down.
The staff at SNFs are currently on the front lines doing the vital work of battling COVID-19. Staff, residents, and family members have many fears about COVID-19, but there are many steps that SNFs can take to reduce these anxieties.
Nursing homes are now required to report the first week of COVID-19 data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) beginning May 8 but no later than May 17. For the first time, all 15,000 nursing homes will be reporting this data directly to the CDC through its reporting tool. This reporting requirement is the first action of its kind in the agency’s history. On April 19, CMS announced the agency would be requiring facilities to report COVID-19 information to the CDC and to families. Within three weeks of that announcement, on April 30, CMS issued an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period with the new regulatory requirements. As nursing homes report this data to the CDC, we will be taking swift action and publicly posting this information so all Americans have access to accurate and timely information on COVID-19 in nursing homes.
As COVID-19 spreads throughout the U.S., SNFs are in a vulnerable position. Residents’ comorbidities and underlying conditions exacerbate the illness, and close quarters and rounding staff speed the spread. “Because this is a disease that is particularly devastating to the population we serve, our residents are at a very high risk,” says Susan M. Levy, MD, CMD, facility medical director and past president of The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (AMDA).
The quality measure with the most impact on revenue is clearly rehospitalization rates. With SNFVBP, SNFQRP, and the Five-Star Rating System directly or indirectly impacting reimbursement, the one measure all three of these CMS reporting programs have in common is rehospitalizations. Whether it is an all-cause all-condition, or a potentially preventable calculation, rehospitalizations can make a big difference to your bottom line. Restorative nursing programs (RNP) can help.
In early 2019, the Trump administration announced the 2021 federal budget, which called for a reduction in spending for both Medicare and Medicaid. SNFs need to take note that the Medicaid reduction involves changes to the supplemental payment program.