The State’s long-term care population are caught behind the proverbial rock and a hard place. Despite all efforts, COVID-19 has spread rampantly in the past 5 weeks through many if not most of the State’s long-term care facilities, as you have read in the newspapers and other media. The rules of the road keep changing and it can be hard to keep up with what’s been ordered by the Governor or the CDC, what’s been merely “suggested” by public health officials, and how much leeway a skilled nursing facility has.
The State’s initial directive was issued and effective on March 14. This is the set of mandatory guidelines issued by the NJ Department of Health that curtailed the access of outside personnel including family members of residents, and also prohibited the presence of volunteers. The presence of CNAs who are hired privately by the family is being worked out on a case-by-case basis it seems, as we hear differing reports from different facilities. In several cases, the aides hired by the family were barred; in another case they were allowed.
On April 1st, an additional set of requirements was issued by New Jersey pertaining to the staff and operations of the facilities. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to the operators of nursing facilities on April 2nd.4.2.20 CMS COVID19 Nursing Home Guidance
Written Orders rolled out from Commissioner of Health Perchilli over the next two weeks. 4-4-20 Infection Prevention Assisted Living Guidance Memo 4-7-2020_Hospital_Temp_Waivers_during_COVID-19_StateofEmergency 4-13-20_EmergencyCurtailmentOfAdmissions (1) Facilities were instructed to segregate COVID-19 positive or symptomatic patients into a separate wing; that all staff had to wear protective masks and other gear at all times; and more. Now the State is looking to transfer residents and to identify specific facilities who will only house and treat COVID-19 patients (residents) until further notice.
In addition, on April 17th, CMS issued a lengthy set of waivers of many regulations pertaining to care, documentation, licensing and record keeping. Pages 9-12 deal specifically with skilled nursing facility issues, and page 11 has to do with allowable discharges of COVID-19 patients to other long-term care facilities. Covid19-CMS Blanket-Waivers-508C- 2-final 040320_0
Call for legal advice on how all of these rules and procedures affect your loved one’s situation… 732-382-6070