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August 28, 2020

CMS Strengthens COVID-19 Testing and Reporting Requirements

On August 25, the CMS released an interim final rule strengthening its COVID-19 testing and reporting requirements for long term care facilities, hospitals, and laboratories. The rule establishes new requirements for testing of residents and staff at long term care facilities with the frequency of such testing linked to the infection rate in the community. Penalties for noncompliance include fines of up to $8,000 and denial of payment for new admissions.

In an effort to assist public health officials in detecting COVID-19 outbreaks, the rule also amends the hospital and critical access hospital Conditions of Participation, requiring hospitals to track and report the incidence and impact of COVID-19 on a daily basis. Facilities that fail to comply risk having Medicare and Medicaid payments withheld, and if they continue to not comply, potential termination from the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Additionally, the rule requires all CLIA laboratories to report COVID-19 test results to HHS on a daily basis. With the threat of fines and termination from the Medicare and Medicaid programs, providers should carefully make every effort to fully comply with the new requirements. CMS is currently seeking comments on the Rule