New CMS guidance gives clarity to compliance

New CMS Guidance Clarity - Excelas | Medical Legal Solutions
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New CMS guidance gives clarity to compliance

New CMS guidance in a December 28, 2021 memo outlines exactly what will be required of providers:

  • January 27, 2022 is the date all workers must have a first shot
  • An enforcement grace period gives facilities that have plans to meet full vaccination target, if they miss the January 27 deadline

According to Janine Finck-Boyle, vice president of regulatory affairs for LeadingAge, “The data proves that being fully vaccinated and boosted minimizes the risk of severe infection, hospitalization, and death if exposed to COVID-19. We continue to strongly urge everyone in long-term care to receive vaccinations and get boosters, and to have all of the layers of protection possible for themselves and their patients.”

CMS said any facility with a staff vaccination rate above 80% after Jan. 27 with a specific plan to achieve a 100% rate within 60 days would not be subject to additional enforcement action.


Some limits on nursing home visitors permitted

Some limits on nursing home visitors were acknowledged by CMS in “very limited and rare exceptions”. In light of the recent COVID-19 omicron variant outbreaks, providers urged “more flexibility to temporarily limit, restrict, or prohibit vistors from entering the facility.”

Research has well documented the adverse effects of isolation, especially on elders. Canadian researchers found that residents without visits from family or friends early in the pandemic were far more likely to die.

CMS explained in its FAQs that if physical distancing cannot be maintained, “facilities may restructure the visitation policy, such as asking visitors to schedule their visit at staggered time-slots throughout the day, and/or limiting the number of visitors in the facility or a resident’s room at any time.

Of the more than 800,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus, more than 140,000 have been involved with nursing homes.


Cameras allowed in nursing home rooms

Allowing cameras in nursing home rooms addresses two health care issues raised during the COVID-19 pandemic, which Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently signed into law:

  • safety of nursing home residents
  • access with telehealth

Esther’s Law advocates argue that cameras in rooms means more accountability in patient treatment. The idea of cameras made even more sense when COVID-19 prompted  nursing facilities to shut down in-person visits.

During the pandemic, more Ohioans took advantage of telehealth, such as remote doctor visits, as many feared catching COVID-19 during in-person medical visits. Since then, telehealth has increased in popularity.

In response to the pandemic, the State Medical Board of Ohio temporarily expanded the usage of telehealth and lifted in-person requirements for certain drug prescriptions and medical marijuana.


Excelas, LLC received national recognition as one of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For (2021)

In case you missed it, Excelas, LLC received national recognition as one of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For (2021).

The Best and Brightest Companies To Work For in the Nation offers different timelines of applications throughout the year: spring, summer, fall, and winter. The fall Best and Brightest National winners honored 167 winning organizations from across the country out of 1,500 nominations.

Excelas is a national provider of medical record organization, retrieval and analysis helping skilled nursing organizations reduce risk exposures associated with gaps in record keeping, which could affect audit scores, reduce defense costs, and shorten the claims lifecycle.

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