On September 17th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a memo to the states, restoring visitation in nursing homes. CMS is requiring facilities to permit visitation whenever a facility has had no new COVID outbreaks for 14 days and the community positivity rate is less than 10%. Facilities required to permit visitation are encouraged to have outdoor visitation, weather permitting, but are also required to accommodate indoor visitation, including in resident rooms, when outdoor visits are unavailable.
On August 25, the California Department of Public Health (DPH) issued All Facilities Letter 20-22.4 outlining some significant changes to the State’s ever-evolving guidance relating to visiting nursing homes and other health facilities during the COVID pandemic. The AFL makes clear that visitation restrictions cannot be absolute. Facilities may not bar any of the following: Visits by Ombudsmen: Facilities must permit ombudsmen in the facility.
AFL 20-22.4 From the California Department of Public Health August 25, 2020 TO: Long-Term Care Facilities SUBJECT: Guidance for Limiting the Transmission of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities (This AFL supersedes guidance provided in AFL 20-22.3) All Facilities Letter (AFL) Summary This AFL notifies long-term care (LTC) facilities of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for improving their infection control and prevention practices to prevent the transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), including revised guidance for visitation.This AFL authorizes LTC facilities to temporarily modify their facility’s visitation policies in accordance with CMS and CDC COVID-19 guidance when necessary to protect the health and safety of residents, staff, and the public.This AFL updates visitation guidance to require facilities to permit ombudsman to enter regardless of whether or not there is a COVID-19 outbreak.
CANHR has reviewed the various federal and California guidance regarding visitation in long term care facilities and synthesized the rules into a new fact sheet to guide residents and their families. The fact sheet highlights the types of visitation nursing homes and residential care facilities for the elderly must provide and under what conditions as well as the infection control protocols facilities may impose during visits. Download the Fact Sheet HERE (PDF)
On June 26, the California Department of Public Health released a new policy regarding visitation that, for the first time since March, REQUIRES nursing homes to permit visitors for outdoor and indoor visits. Facilities MUST permit outdoor visitation unless there is a local public health order that prohibits it. Indoor visits must be permitted if a facility meets six criteria: no current COVID-19 outbreak, a decline in cases in the community, no new COVID-19 cases in the facility for the past 14 days, no staffing shortages and not using a COVID-19 staffing waiver, an adequate testing plan per AFL 20-53, and an approved COVID-19 Mitigation Plan.
On June 26, the California Department of Social Services released updated guidance regarding visitation in PIN 20-23-ASC that, for the first time since March, REQUIRES assisted living facilities to permit visitors under specified narrow circumstances, and permits indoor and outdoor visitation when certain criteria are met. Providers are required to follow the guidance unless there are contradictory or stricter requirements imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health (CDPH), or local health departments.
Courtesy of the Center for Medicare Advocacy The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently revised its guidance on visitations to nursing facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic via seven Frequently Asked Questions. CMS is authorizing additional, more flexible guidance on visitation, while reiterating the need for screening, social distancing, hand hygiene, and face coverings during all visits.
As part of continuing efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus to vulnerable people in nursing homes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which regulates most skilled nursing homes, has issued new and very stringent guidelines restricting nearly all nursing home visitors https://www.cms.gov/files/document/3-13-2020-nursing-home-guidance-covid-19.pdf. While the right of nursing home residents to visitation is protected by law, under federal and state emergency declarations, these protections have been temporarily suspended to help prevent visitors from infecting residents whose age or illness may make them very susceptible to the virus.
As part of the state government’s continuing efforts to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable people, the Community Care Licensing Division of the State Department of Social Services (CCLD) has issued new, even stricter guidelines regarding visitor access to assisted living facilities housing California elders. It is important to note that while the CCLD now supports some extraordinary new measures to limit visitor access to facilities, it has also made clear that facility administrators must work to assist families and friends of residents to provide alternative forms of access and information. As we explained in our update of March 13 , California protects the rights of residents to have visitors and to leave facilities (http://canhr.org/publications/PDFs/coronavirus_rcfe_guidelines_20200313.pdf).
Please note that this alert has been superseded by THIS ALERT (click link) and is retained here for reference only. In an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable communities, the Community Care Licensing Division of the State Department of Social Services (CCLD) is issuing new guidance on visitation for elders residing in assisted living facilities in California. While these guidelines will pose many challenges for residents and their families during this health crisis, the new rules should not discourage the kind of close relationships that California seniors in these facilities depend on.