Federal Government Increases Reporting Requirements for Nursing Homes

Federal Government Increases Reporting Requirements for Nursing Homes

Amid staggering COVID-19 numbers, reports must be made within 12 hours

The coronavirus statistics among U.S. nursing homes are staggering. More than 36,000 residents and employees have contracted coronavirus, and one-fifth of overall deaths are among this population, according to a study by the New York Times. Deaths from nursing homes accounted for at least 6,900 of the more than 42,000 reported COVID-19 deaths in the United States.

Experts say certain populations are vulnerable to severe cases of the infection: those with chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and of old age, according to Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization focusing on national health issues. Three million people in the United States live and work in nursing homes.

  • Of more than 15,000 nursing homes in the United States, more than 650 Medicare-certified facilities have had infections, the Washington Post reported.
  • In Virginia, more than half of the outbreaks have been in long-term-care facilities.
  • In Massachusetts, long-term care facilities account for fully half of all COVID-19 deaths reported thus far.
  • COVID-19 has claimed 275 nursing home residents in Louisiana and coronavirus had spread to 124 nursing homes across the state, according to data reported by the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals. 1,320 cases of the virus were recorded in the state’s nursing homes, according to the data released April 15.
  • Amid mounting pressure, California and Florida released the names of nursing home facilities with coronavirus over the weekend. In Florida, one of every four coronavirus death was associated with long-term care facilities.
  • Georgia Department of Community Health announces 230 facilities have presence of coronavirus.

As a result of the analysis published by the New York Times, the federal government will require nursing homes to inform residents, their families and representatives when residents or staff contract the illness.

The new rules require nursing homes to report COVID-19 cases directly to the CDC, which is building a nationwide database of the occurrence in the facilities. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced over the weekend that notification must come within 12 hours of a confirmed case of COVID-19. The facilities must inform residents, families and representatives within 72 hours when three or more individuals develop respiratory symptoms.

Nursing homes are already required to report such data to state and local public health officials.

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