LeadingAge Iowa is a statewide membership organization of non-profit providers of aging services and supports and the champion for advancement and innovation in aging services. Our mission is to be the voice, support and connector for non-profit members and the people they serve. Our membership is diverse, representing the spectrum of non-profit long-term support and service providers including skilled nursing, assisted and independent living, PACE, home health, adult day, respite, hospice and home delivered meals.  Our members serve over 25,000 older adults in Iowa each day.

CMS Revises LTC Visitation Guidance

This afternoon, CMS issued revised QSO-20-39-NH related to nursing home visitation, which is effective immediately. The memo clearly states that “visitation is now allowed for all residents at all times.” This revised memo also replaces any previous QSO memo related to visitation.

CMS states that vaccination efforts have substantially reduced the number of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes and that while there are still concerns associated with transmission associated to visitation, CMS believes that adherence to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention mitigates these concerns.  Further, CMS states that residents have the right to make choices about the aspects of their life in the facility and may deny or withdraw consent for a visit at any time if they have concern about the risks associated with visitation. Therefore, CMS states that so long as a visitor, resident, or their representative is aware of the risks associated with visitation, and the visit occurs in a manner that does not place others at risk such as a resident’s semi-private, shared room, then the resident must be allowed to have visitors as he or she chooses.

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CMS Issues QSO-22-02-ALL Related to Survey Activity

Today, CMS issued QSO-22-02-ALL providing guidance to state survey agencies (SA) on survey activity.  Included in the QSO are directives on how to address the backlog of complaints and recertification surveys including revising the criteria for Focused Infection Control (FIC) surveys, resuming recertification surveys and temporary guidance, and minor flexibility on conducting compliant surveys.  Also included in the QSO are directives for SSAs to focus on particular quality-of-life standards that CMS expressed an increased concern with during the PHE. 

CMS expressed in the QSO that infection prevention and control remain a priority in nursing homes, however, vaccination rates have led to decreased cases and deaths among residents and staff in the nursing home setting.  CMS addressed that the vaccine mandate interim final rule was developed because staff vaccination rates were approximately 20% lower than resident vaccination rates as of August 2021. 

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