Team Cantata Health is committed to helping our partners in healthcare through this challenging time. This year has been, well, rough, to put it mildly. We’re ready for things to turn around and we know you are as well. We don’t know exactly when this pandemic will end, but we do want to help you through it. That’s why we’ve set up our COVID-19 Resource Center and want to highlight some important information for long-term care (LTC) facilities below.

Visitor Restrictions

The revised COVID-19 nursing home visitor guidance directs nursing homes to significantly restrict visitors and nonessential healthcare personnel. This new measure CMS announced back in mid-March supersedes all prior CMS guidance, constitute the agency’s most aggressive and decisive recommendations with respect to nursing home safety in the face of the spread of COVID-19.

The new visitor guidance includes:

  • Restricting all visitors, effective immediately, with exceptions for compassionate care, such as end-of-life situations.
  • Restricting all volunteers and nonessential health care personnel and other personnel (i.e. barbers).
  • Cancelling all group activities and communal dining.
  • Implementing active screening of residents and health care personnel for fever and respiratory symptoms.

Moving forward, when making decisions about relaxing restrictions (e.g., easing visitor restrictions, allowing group activities, or restoring communal dining) administrators should refer to guidance from state and local officials.

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Thanks to COVID-19, PPE shortages are currently posing a great challenge to the U.S. healthcare system. Facilities are having difficulty accessing the needed PPE and are having to identify alternate ways to provide resident care.

Surge capacity and can be used to prioritize measures to conserve PPE supplies along the continuum of care.

  • Conventional capacity: measures consisting of engineering, administrative, and PPE controls that should already be implemented in general infection prevention and control plans in healthcare settings.
  • Contingency capacity: procedures that may be used temporarily during periods of expected PPE shortages.
  • Crisis capacity: strategies that are not proportionate with U.S. standards of care but may need to be considered during periods of known PPE shortages.

CDC’s optimization strategies for PPE offer a range of options for use when PPE supplies are running low or absent.

Personnel who do not interact with residents (not within 6 feet) and do not clean resident environments or equipment are still recommended to wear a cloth face covering or PPE if supplies are sufficient.

Medicare Waivers

In response to COVID-19, CMS is empowered to take proactive steps through 1135 waivers and rapidly expand the Administration’s aggressive efforts against the virus. As a result, CMS is waiving the requirement at Section 1812(f) of the Social Security Act for a 3-day prior hospitalization for coverage of a skilled nursing facility (SNF) stay.

This waiver provides temporary emergency coverage of SNF services without a qualifying hospital stay, for those people who need to be transferred as a result of the effect of a disaster or emergency. In addition, for certain beneficiaries who recently exhausted their SNF benefits, it authorizes renewed SNF coverage without first having to start a new benefit period.

Within NetSolutions, a new Medicare A plan will need to be set up for the modified requirements. You can find instructions on how to do that here. For more on general waivers and flexibilities in regards to COVID-19, visit the CMS Emergency Preparedness website.

NetSolutions Clients

Our NetSolutions COVID-19 Response Program provides the following:

  1. Continued commitment to your facility, your team, your residents
  2. Emergency Preparedness
    1. Hosting – Free trial
    2. Remote Access – Free trial
    3. Recovery Back-up
  3. Special focus dashboard – Free configuration
    1. COVID case tracking
    2. Isolation precautions
    3. Vital monitoring
    4. Change in condition tracking
  4. eAssignments – Free trial
  5. Waiver management – Free configuration
  6. InfectionWatch via our partnership with ABILITY Network
  7. COVID-19 related paid leave requirements management

Our team is working hard to ensure that we can help you through this and will continue to update our solutions as needed. To learn more about these offerings, please go here, or reach out to us directly via covidresponse@cantatahealth.com.