MDR Monthly Newsletter — May 2021
New CMS Rule to Meant Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a new rule that revises the infection control protocol for long-term care (LTC) facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The new rule requires facilities to educate residents about the vaccine and to ensure that vaccines are offered to residents when available. It also requires LTC facilities to report the COVID-19 vaccination status of their residents to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Click here to access the CMS press release announcing the rule change and highlighting the rule’s significant components. For specific details, click here to access the CMS rule published in the Federal Register.
CDC Releases Updated Guidance for Nursing Homes
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance for nursing homes in response to increased COVID-19 vaccination. The CDC updated guidance covers several topics, including visitation, communal activities in a health care setting, and the use of personal protection equipment, among others. The updated guidance includes the approval of communal dining and group activities for fully vaccinated residents. Unprotected close contact between fully vaccinated residents and their vaccinated visitors has also been approved as long as the interaction occurs in a room or designated visitation area that is away from staff and other visitors. Please click here to see additional details of the updated CDC guidance.
Looking Abroad, Single Rooms Could Have Prevented Deaths for LTC Residents
A recent international study published in the Journal of American Medical Directors Association has found that 31 percent of nursing home deaths due to COVID-19 could have been prevented if residents each had their own room. News outlet Skilled Nursing News reported on the study conducted across long-term care homes in the Canadian province of Ontario, stating that in addition to lower death rates, infection rates also decreased by 31 percent due to single-occupancy rooms. While the study’s simulations to demonstrate lower rates of death and infection, it also notes that an additional 30,000 single-occupancy rooms would be needed to realize these rates. Click here for additional details from the Skilled Nursing News article and findings related to the study.
Seniors, People with Underlying Conditions Among First to Get Pfizer Booster Shot
Pfizer expects seniors and those with underlying medical conditions to be among the first to receive a COVID-19 booster of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Despite an efficacy rate of 95 percent, researchers believe that efficacy will eventually begin to dissipate. Pfizer and BioNTech executives believe a booster could be needed in 12 months, and potentially additional booster shots every year. Click here to read more.
SSN Interview with Plum Healthcare CEO About COVID-19, Reimbursement, and More
Skilled Nursing News interviewed the Chief Executive Officer of Plum Healthcare Group, a company with over 50 facilities across California and Nevada. Plum Healthcare CEO Cory Christensen touched on several topics, including the impact of COVID-19, changings trends in referrals, and the need for reimbursement reform. Check out the interview here.