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What Does CMS’s Resident/Family Notification Rule Mean for My Long-Term Care Facility?

On Friday, May 1, 2020, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) requiring skilled nursing and long-term care facilities (LTCFs) to immediately begin notifying residents and their families regarding COVID-19 updates at their facilities. It also requires facilities to submit their initial reports to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) no later than May 8, 2020.

The details of the IFR require LTCFs to communicate electronically and regularly with residents and their loved ones beginning immediately. In response to the many challenges already facing LTCFs to provide care to vulnerable senior populations, SRX developed an SMS text and email communication tool, Bridge, to provide a simple solution for mass communication. With the new CMS requirements that go into effect today, this tool is more relevant than ever. Bridge allows for message distribution to facility contact lists through a single point of entry on a web-based app. The app distributes text, audio, and video messages in real-time via text message and email. The technology is compliant with the CMS reporting requirements, and simple for facilities to use.

The IFR sets in place a number of specific guidelines including requirements for reporting specific information to facility residents and their families:

  • Number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases for both residents and staff
  • Reporting with 24 hours of a new confirmed COVID-19 positive case in either a resident or staff member
  • Reporting within 24 hours if three or more residents and/or staff exhibit respiratory symptoms within the same 72-hour period
  • Reporting must occur by 5pm the following day

The guidelines are broad as to how LTCFs actually report this information to patients and families, outlining that, “notifications may be issued through mail, listserv or website postings, recorded telephone messages, or other convenient mass communication efforts.” The guidelines are designed to improve communication and transparency in order to “empower residents to be informed participants in their care.” These guidelines also offer facilities the opportunity to regularly communicate the steps being taken to control infections and properly care for facility residents which is critical for providing peace of mind during a very stressful time. 

While the broad guidelines provide flexibility, they may leave facilities without an existing plan or technology solution to meet these requirements. Due to the number of other pressing health and safety concerns facing facilities, simple solutions that require little time on the part of administrators and staff, but that quickly communicate the needed information will serve facilities best. Bridge by SRX offers an easy-to-use solution designed specifically to help LTCFs navigate . 

For more information, or to schedule a demo, visit srx-tech.com/bridge


National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) COVID-19 Module
National Law Review Overview of CMS Announcement
AHCA Update on Final Rule

SRX is a technology and advisory company that helps LTC operators realize the lowest net cost on pharmacy spend. We help our customers improve drug utilization, manage pharmacy relationships, reduce costs and waste, and maximize rebates. We are committed to transparency and accountability and guarantee our quarterly rebates are paid on time, every time. Contact us at 833 633 6833.

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