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CMS Nursing Home Testing Call

CMS held a call on nursing home testing yesterday evening featuring

:

  • Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Robert R. Redfield, MD, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Admiral Brett P. Giroir, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Lee Fleisher, MD, Chief Medical Officer, CMS
  • Jean Moody-Williams and Dr. Shari Ling, CMS

Seema Verma and the CMS survey team gave a broad overview of the Interim Final Rule and the Infection Control Training Program. She stressed the call to action to nursing homes for infection control, testing and training to continue to mitigate the spread of COVID. On the topic of testing, Admiral Giroir reported that to date 13,477 testing instruments have been sent to 13,343 nursing homes along with 4.7 million tests. This week 507 instruments with 192,000 tests will be sent out. He also discussed using the antigen test kits to test residents once and staff twice under this initiative. Once the initial supply of tests is used, providers can use the PRF funding to acquire testing kits from the two vendors. A call is scheduled this week with BD outlets so nursing homes are prioritized. 

There was also a discussion regarding asymptomatic testing. Members are advised to follow the Aug. 24th FDA FAQ and the Aug 28th CMS statement and use antigen testing on asymptomatic individuals and review the PREP ACT coverage. Overall, antigen tests are acceptable under FDA and states should accept them—if they do not, they are violating a federal mandate. In addition, HHS is purchasing 150 million antigen tests on the Abbott card—using nasal swabs—that will be distributed next week. 750,000 of those will go to nursing homes in counties with medium (5% - 10%) and high (>10%) COVID-19 positivity rates. These cards should be used to supplement PCR testing or POC antigen tests to lessen the burden and rotate the type of tests used.

The presentation is available here. Further information and LeadingAge Minnesota analysis will be included in Thursday’s daily member message.

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