CMS Modifies some COVID-19 HCP SNF Testing Requirements

October 1, 2020

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced an update to recently issued guidance on testing of health care personnel (HCP) in skilled nursing facilities, including a provision that testing frequency be determined by the positivity rate of the county in which the SNF is located.  CMS has now modified the requirements such that they are now also tied to the number of test per county. 

These changes were made in response to feedback from rural facilities that were concerned that higher positivity rates in rural areas may be related to low amounts of testing volume,  and not necessarily indicative of  greater COVID-19 presence.  The CMS guidance calls for all SNFs in counties with a positivity rate of greater than 10% or higher all HCP twice a week.  Under the new update,  facilities located in counties that administered fewer than 500 tests and fewer than 2000 tests per 10,000 residents, and a positivity rate of greater than 10%  will now be able to test once per week.    

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requires all CA SNFs to test all HCP at least once per week.