Long-Term Care Facility COVID-19 Testing Requirements and Revised COVID-19 Focused Survey Tool
Published: September, 2020
Submission: September, 2020
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The following summarizes important information about the requirements of the new 42 CFR §483.80(h) as provided in the CMS Memo to State Survey Agencies dated Aug. 26, 2020. For the full text of the Memo, you may access it at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-38-nh.pdf
In the IFC, Long-Term Care Facilities (LTC) are required to test residents and staff, including individuals providing services under arrangement, and volunteers, for COVID-19 based on parameters and frequency set forth by the HHS Secretary. At a minimum, the facility must:
The facility must also:
Facilities can meet the testing requirements through the use of rapid point-of-care (at or near the site of resident care) diagnostic testing devices or through an arrangement with an off-site laboratory. For a facility to conduct point-of-care testing with its own staff and equipment, the facility must have a CLIA Certificate of Waiver. In addition, rapid point-of-care testing devices are prescription use tests under the Emergency Use Authorization and must be ordered by a healthcare professional licensed under the applicable state law or a pharmacist under HHS guidance. Accordingly, the facility must have an order from a healthcare professional or pharmacist to perform a point-of-care COVID-19 test on an individual.
If a facility does not have the ability to conduct point-of-care testing, it must have an arrangement with a laboratory to conduct the tests. To ensure rapid infection control response, the facility should select laboratories that can quickly process large numbers of tests with rapid reporting of results (within 48 hours).
Facility Staff to be Tested:
The term "facility staff" includes employees, consultants, contractors, volunteers, and caregivers who provide care and services to residents on behalf of the facility, and students in the facility's nurse aide training programs or from affiliated academic institutions.
Additional Testing Details:
The testing guidance in the tables below provided by CMS represents the minimum testing expected. Facilities may consider other factors, such as the positivity rate in an adjacent (i.e., neighboring) county, to test at a frequency that is higher than required. State and local officials may also direct facilities to monitor other factors that increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission, such as rates of Emergency Department visits of individuals with COVID-19-like symptoms.
Table 1: Testing Summary