Wednesday, June 10, 2020

How to Make COVID-19 Notifications Meaningful 

We have heard concerns from members about the challenges nursing homes are facing in following CMS requirements for notifications to residents, their representatives and their families in a meaningful and useful way. CMS requirements for confirmed and clusters of suspected cases to be notified in an ongoing cumulative way is creating confusion for the people these notifications are supposed to serve.  While nursing homes must continue reporting in this cumulative manner in order to meet the current CMS requirements, AHCA suggests nursing homes consider including additional information in these notifications that is more meaningful and useful to residents, their representatives and families.  
We have included additional, optional items in this template letter to residents and families as suggestions for you to consider including: 
  • Number of residents or staff with confirmed COVID-19 
  • Number of residents and staff who have recovered from COVID-19 
  • Number of residents and staff who have tested negative for COVID-19 
  • The number of days since a new resident or staff member has tested positive 
These items are not required, nor are they prohibited. Along with providing numbers, make sure to provide updates to residents and family members about efforts you are undertaking to address the situation and how you will continue to keep them informed. This template letter is not just about fulfilling CMS requirements, but fostering a good relationship with those you serve. 

The template letter may also be used by Assisted Living Communities. Nursing homes and assisted living communities may further adapt or tailor these letters as they see fit. 

As with all information included in these notifications, make sure you adhere to existing privacy requirements and do not include Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as names or specific medical information.  

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