Revised CMS Memos

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services release two revised QSO memos today. Below is a summary of the major revisions in each memo. Please read each in its entirety for all revisions. DHSS guidance will be updated to reflect the revisions in the CMS Visitation memo, however all facilities may begin using this revised guidance immediately.

CMS QSO-20-38-NH Revised – Updated Guidance Regarding Testing
The major revision to this document is regarding routine testing of staff. Routine testing of unvaccinated staff should be based on the extent of the virus in the community. Fully vaccinated staff do not have to be routinely tested. Facilities should use their county positivity rate in the prior week as the trigger for staff testing frequency.

CMS QSO-20-29-NH Visitation
The major revision to this document is regarding group activities and communal dining. The CDC has provided additional guidance on activities and dining based on resident vaccination status. For example, residents who are fully vaccinated may dine and participate in activities without face coverings or social distancing if all participating residents are fully vaccinated; if unvaccinated residents are present during communal dining or activities, then all residents should use face coverings when not eating and unvaccinated residents should physically distance from others. See the CDC guidance Updated Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations in Response to COVID-19 Vaccination for information on communal dining and activities.