NHSN Enables Reporting of COVID Test Results: Providers Must Continue Reporting Directly to the State

Effective last Friday, Oct. 16, the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) enables nursing facilities and assisted living providers to report COVID-19 point-of-care test results to the NHSN system. 

Our understanding is that Level 3 security access (SAMS grid card) would be required to submit lab results to the NHSN system.

The CDC released a sample reporting form and instructions late last week, and the agency will host two ZOOM trainings this week to share more information: Thursday, October 22 at 10:00 am Central and Friday, October 23 at 1:00 pm Central. Visit the LTCF COVID-19 Module webpage to find the ZOOM links and meeting passcodes for those events. 

It is important to note, however, that the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) requires providers to report COVID-19 point of care test results directly to the State, and we must continue to follow that directive. See Reporting Results of COVID-19 Tests Performed Inside Your Long-term Care Facility

MDH is aware of the CDC system update and is studying the issue, but the Department has not indicated that it plans to treat reporting to the NHSN platform as a substitute for reporting directly to the State. So, while it may be worthwhile to learn more about the new NHSN pathway, from a compliance standpoint providers must continue reporting lab results to MDH. We will follow this development and let you know if we learn more from the State in the coming weeks.

On a separate NHSN note: Officials at the CMS-Chicago office have asked LeadingAge affiliates across our six-state region to remind nursing facilities of the on-going obligation to report COVID case information (resident impact, staff impact, supplies/PPE, and ventilator capacity) on a weekly basis. Nearly all facilities have been doing so routinely, but CMS recently saw a spike in the percentage of facilities that did not report, and failure to report, unfortunately, will result in an automatic Civil Money Penalty. If your facility is unable to submit data due to technical difficulties with the NHSN system, be sure to document your efforts to resolve the issue.

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