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).