LeadingAge Statement on CMS’ Interim Final Rule Regarding Testing of Nursing Home Staff

PRESS RELEASE | August 25, 2020 | by Lisa Sanders

“The fight against this virus is far from over, and our members need continued support.”

Contact: Lisa Sanders
lsanders@leadingage.org 202-508-9407

August 25, 2020 Washington, DC — Statement from Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO, LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, including nursing homes, on the interim final rule on mandated staff testing, announced today

 

“The pandemic has already cost nursing homes tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars, as dedicated workers have been shouting for help from the front line. Nursing homes will put the resources CMS announced today to good use. But the fight against this virus is far from over, and our members need continued support.” -

 

The antigen testing machines HHS is delivering to nursing homes will help, but members who already have the machines report that they are still waiting for instructions and test kits to make them usable.* What’s more, this HHS program addresses just one segment of the care continuum, and even nursing homes still face high costs for testing supplies and staff resources.”

 

*Informal survey of LeadingAge nursing home members designated for receipt of antigen machines prior to 08/20/2020 (inclusive of the first two allocation lists). 41 responses received to-date; 155 responses fielded, or 26% response rate. 

Topline findings:

Most (90%) survey respondents have a machine. 

Asked if they received enough test kits to test each staff member once, 84% said yes. 

About half (52%) haven’t yet tried to get support or information from the manufacturer; of those that have tried (37%), response was helpful.

Almost one quarter (24%) are currently using the machines for COVID tests. Most of the rest (24%) are waiting for direction for when to use it, while 15% say they set the machine aside.

Asked what would help those who are not using it to use their machine, respondents said: 

  • Assurance that once I start using it I will be able to easily and affordably obtain additional testing kits (52%)
  • Assurance that I do not have to retest every negative antigen test with a PCR test (38%)
  • Support from the manufacturer and/or video help on how to use it (20%) 

Top concerns about the initiative are worries about obtaining or paying for test kits, as well as FDA/label instructions about false negatives.

About LeadingAge:

We represent more than 5,000 aging-focused organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we address critical issues by blending applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building. We bring together the most inventive minds in our field to support older adults as they age wherever they call home. We make America a better place to grow old. For more information: www.leadingage.org.