To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara Gregorio, President
Re: COVID-19 Updates: Weekly DPH Call Reminder, Training and Certification of Nurse Aides and Revised Screening Checklist for Visitors and Staff
Date: March 31, 2020
Today we are providing you with several updates related to training and certification of nurse aides and a revised screening checklist for visitors and staff. Please continue to visit our dedicated COVID-19 webpage for resources and updates.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Weekly Call for Nursing Homes and Rest Homes - Reminder
The next DPH conference call for nursing homes and rest homes is scheduled for Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 11:00 AM. This call will include members of DPH’s Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality, Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, and Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management. Call-in information: Phone Number: 888-390-5007 Participant Code: 3479679.
Training and Certification of Nurse Aides
CMS is waiving the requirements at 42 CFR 483.35(d) (with the exception of 42 CFR 483.35(d)(1)(i)), which require that a SNF and NF may not employ anyone for longer than four months unless they met the training and certification requirements under § 483.35(d). CMS is waiving these requirements to assist in potential staffing shortages seen with the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure the health and safety of nursing home residents, CMS is not waiving 42 CFR § 483.35(d)(1)(i), which requires facilities to not use any individual working as a nurse aide for more than four months, on a full-time basis, unless that individual is competent to provide nursing and nursing related services. CMS is not waiving § 483.35(c), which requires facilities to ensure that nurse aides are able to demonstrate competency in skills and techniques necessary to care for residents’ needs, as identified through resident assessments, and described in the plan of care.
Revised Screening Checklist for Visitors and Staff
AHCA has updated the screening checklist for visitors and staff based on the latest guidance from CMS and CDC. Revisions include changes to Section 3B to reflect when a staff person has worked in facilities or locations with recognized COVID-19 cases, and the staff person has worked with a person with confirmed COVID-19. These staff should be required to wear PPE including masks, gloves, gown before any contact with residents. Section 4 was also expanded to include CDC guidance for health care provider use of PPE when there are cases of COVID-19 present or not in the facility, as well is in the community.
Video on Donning and Doffing PPE
AHCA has partnered with the University of Nebraska Medical Center to provide access to its educational resources as well as a video on Donning and Doffing PPE for health care personnel.