Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Revises Nursing Home Visitation Requirements

Nursing homes have been substantially impacted by the COVID-19 due to its outbreaks leading to high mortality rates among the elderly. Understandably, aggressive attempts were made to restrict the risk of Covid-19 exposure as much as possible. 


In March 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a memorandum guiding restricting visitation of all visitors and non-essential healthcare workers. Several months later, in May 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its reopening recommendation for nursing homes which provided additional guidance in dealing with Covid-19 and reopening. 


The Center notes that physical separation from loved ones has taken a substantial physical and emotional toll on nursing home residents as well as their loved ones. The Center for Medicaid Services appreciates that nursing home residents find value in the support they receive from visitations by their loved ones. Consequently, the Center recently revised its guidance addressing visitation in nursing homes during the pandemic. 


This article reviews some of the important details that you should understand about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently revised guidelines for nursing home visitations. 


What Changes Have Been Made to Nursing Home Requirements


Some of the changes that have been made to nursing home visitation requirements include:


  • Nursing homes are required to inform both residents and staff on the risks as well as benefits of COVID-19 vaccines. 
  • Nursing homes must report resident and staff vaccination to the Centers for Disease Controls’ National Healthcare Safety Network
  • Visitors to nursing homes who test positive for Covid-19 have symptoms of Covid-19, or who meet the criteria for Covid-19 quarantine should not enter nursing homes. Facilities must screen all people who enter nursing homes for these factors. 
  • Nursing homes must permit indoor visitation at all times. Facilities are no longer allowed to limit the frequency or length of visits for residents, the number of visits, or require advance scheduling of visits. 
  • Visits at nursing homes must be performed in a manner that follows recommended protocol for preventing Covid-19 and not increasing the risk to other residents. Nursing homes must make sure that physical distancing can still occur during peak visitation hours. 
  • Nursing homes must avoid large gatherings where a large number of visitors are in the same space at the same time and physical distancing cannot be done. 
  • If a nursing home resident’s roommate is not vaccinated, visits should not be done in the resident’s room. 
  • If a nursing home’s county Covid-19 transmission level is substantial to high, all residents and visitors must wear face coverings and practice social distance. 
  • Residents who are on transmission-based precautions or quarantining due to Covid-19 at nursing homes can still receive visitors. 
  • Visitors must still be allowed into nursing homes during the Covid-19 outbreak investigation. 


Contact a Knowledgeable New York Elder Law Attorney


If you have a loved one in a nursing home, various issues can arise requiring the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation. 

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