COVID-19 Waivers Ending for Skilled Nursing Facilities
On April 8, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that some of the blanket waivers implemented during COVID-19 will expire on May 10, 2021. The following waivers will expire:
- The emergency blanket waivers related to notification of resident room or roommate changes, and transfer and discharge notification requirements.
CMS believes nursing homes have had time to develop practices that have made them able to efficiently cohort residents and provide the required notice in advance. As such, facilities are now required to resume providing 30 days advanced notice, or as soon as practicable, before the transfer or discharge of a resident, and providing notice before a room or roommate change. The waivers that allow facilities to transfer or discharge, and change rooms for co-horting remain in effect.
- The emergency blanket waiver for certain care planning requirements for residents transferred or discharged for cohorting purposes.
Federal regulations require nursing homes to complete a baseline care plan and comprehensive care plan within 48 hours and 7 days of admission to the facility, respectively. During COVID-19, CMS waived these requirements. Again, CMS believes facilities have had time to develop processes for completing these important care planning tasks.
- The emergency blanket waiver of the time frame requirements for completing and transmitting resident assessment information Minimum Data Set (MDS).
CMS waived the MDS timeframe requirements at 42 CFR §483.20 for assessments to allow providers flexibility in completing and transmitting assessments. CMS believes nursing homes should have developed practices for completing these assessments timely.
While the above-mentioned waivers are expiring on May 10, 2021, other waivers remain in effect. Specifically, the 3-day qualifying hospital stay remains waived, so Medicare services can continue to be provided to beneficiaries without a prior hospital stay.
 The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Updates to Long-Term Care (LTC) Emergency Regulatory Waivers issued in response to COVID-19, https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-21-17-nh.pdf.