CMS Issues Rule on COVID-19 Vaccine Reporting
Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a rule requiring long-term care (LTC) facilities, and residential facilities serving clients with intellectual disabilities, to educate and offer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents, clients, and staff. Per a press release from CMS, the interim final rule establishes requirements that apply to LTC facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs-IID) and align with existing requirements for influenza and pneumococcal vaccines in LTC facilities.
The rule also requires LTC facilities to report weekly COVID-19 vaccination status data for both residents and staff. The new vaccination reporting requirement will not only assist in monitoring uptake amongst residents and staff but will also aid in identifying facilities that may be in need of additional resources and/or assistance to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure LTC facilities receive support for COVID-19 vaccination efforts, they are now required to report weekly vaccination data of residents and staff to the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), the nation’s most widely used health care-associated infection tracking system. LTC facilities are already required to report COVID-19 testing, case, and mortality data to the NHSN for residents and staff but have not been required to report vaccination data. As data becomes available, CMS will post facility-specific vaccination status information reported to the NHSN for viewing by facilities, stakeholders, and the public on CMS’ COVID-19 Nursing Home Data website.
While this announcement is specific to LTC facilities and ICFs-IID, CMS is also seeking comment on opportunities to expand these policies to help encourage vaccine uptake and access in other congregate care settings, such as psychiatric residential treatment facilities, group homes, and assisted living facilities. By requiring vaccine education and offering within LTC facilities and ICFs-IIDs, CMS is improving health care access and reducing the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
The Society is currently reviewing the details of the rule and will submit comments as necessary. The Society plans to continue to provide guidance on all COVID updates in its vaccination toolkit and its COVID-19 resource page, which includes the toolkit.