Capitol Correspondence - 02.15.22

CMS Updates Guidance for Long-Term Care Providers on Use of Survey Tools and Visitation Restrictions

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The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new guidance for long-term care providers, including Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF). In a revised memo to State Survey Agency Directors, CMS updated its policies relating to the focused infection control (FIC) survey, which was a tool developed at the beginning of the public health emergency to help surveyors and facilities in combating COVID-19. The new guidance discontinues the requirement for surveyors to use the FIC survey and allows surveyors to determine its necessity on a case-by-case basis.

The CMS memo also rolls back additional restrictions on visitation policies for acute and continuing care facilities. The memo notes that CMS recognizes that “restricting visitation from family and other loved ones has taken a physical and emotional toll on patients” and discontinues stricter visitation restrictions. The memo states that facilities should instead continue adhering to “basic COVID-19 infection prevention principles consistent with national standards of practice.”