On May 11, 2021, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new rule that will require long-term care facilities and residential facilities serving clients with intellectual disabilities to educate and offer COVID-19 vaccines to residents, clients and staff. This new requirement will closely align with current requirements for influenza and pneumococcal vaccines in long-term care facilities. The new rule will also require long-term care facilities to report weekly COVID-19 vaccination status data for both residents and staff. Enforcement of the new rule is expected to begin June 14, 2021.
This new rule continues CMS’ effort to ensure that long-term care facilities “[r] eceive support for COVID-19 vaccination efforts. CMS explained that long-term care facilities, “are now required to report weekly vaccination data of residents and staff to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), the nation’s most widely used health care-associated infection tracking system”. Currently, long-term care facilities are required to “[r] eport COVID-19 testing, case, and mortality data to the NHSN for residents and staff, but have not been required to report vaccination data”. It is expected that once the data becomes available, CMS will post facility-specific vaccination data as reported to the NHSN for view by the public and others stakeholders on CMS’ COVID-19 Nursing Home Data website. At this time, some states have already been collecting and monitoring vaccination information, but that data has not been widely shared.
It is anticipated that this requirement may be expanded to other congregate care settings, such as group homes and assisted living facilities.
The new vaccine reporting rule is in addition to CMS’ proposed rule that would require long-term care facilities to submit data through the CDCs’ NHSN on long-term care facility worker vaccination rates. Under this proposed new rule, the data collected would be used for a new quality measure for skilled nursing facilities. The proposed new measure has been included in CMS’ Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System as proposed for fiscal year 2022. If this proposed rule is approved, the reporting requirement would begin Oct. 1, 2021.
If you or your organization may be impacted by these revised requirements or are interested in learning how to comply with these changes, please contact Dinsmore’s health care practice attorneys.