Managing Surveyor Vaccination Status
On June 16, CMS issued memo QSO-22-18-ALL that rescinded a previous memo outlining vaccination expectations for state survey agencies. The rescission of this memo left providers with many questions about how to manage surveyors entering the building. LeadingAge was able to gain clarity from CMS to address this question.
First and foremost, recall that a provider may not deny entry to a surveyor. To deny entry to a surveyor would be a violation of the provider agreement and would put the provider at risk of termination of the provider agreement (i.e., termination from the Medicare and Medicaid programs). With this in mind, however, providers may choose to implement policies and processes similar to those utilized for ad hoc contractors or visitors whose vaccination status is unknown.
Per recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), providers should continue to screen all who enter the nursing home, including surveyors, for positive test results or symptoms of COVID-19. Providers may inquire about the vaccination status of a surveyor, may offer testing to the surveyor, and may request the surveyor to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a respirator for source control. Note, however, that the surveyor may refuse these provisions including refusing to disclose vaccination status, refusing testing, or refusing PPE such as a respirator, and other extra precautions. The nursing home may not deny entry to a surveyor who refuses such additional precautions.
Any questions or concerns about vaccination status or entry of surveyors should be referred to the State Survey Agency.