June 5, 2020
TO: Nursing Home Administrators
FROM: M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA, State Health Commissioner
CC: VDH Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance Program
RE: Reporting into the National Healthcare Safety Network per CMS Rule
On May 8, 2020, and effective immediately, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an interim final rule with comment period that requires CMS-certified nursing homes to report COVID-19 facility data at least weekly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CMS memo QSO-20-29-NH outlines the new COVID-19 reporting requirements for nursing homes.
The weekly reports are to be submitted via the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) COVID-19 module. Please refer to the CDC NHSN website for an overview of the reporting module and instructions on how to register in NHSN. For NHSN questions, please email NHSN@cdc.gov and add “LTCF” in the subject header.
Per the Code of Virginia (§32.1-35.1), data required to be reported to the NHSN to meet CMS requirements should be shared with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) through the NHSN system. In order for VDH to view data from Long-Term Care Facilities (LTCFs) reporting in NHSN, each facility has to join the VDH NHSN group. You can find instructions on how to do that here. Licensed but not certified nursing homes are not required to report data to CMS, but they may report to NHSN and are encouraged to confer rights to VDH. Reporting through NHSN is one of many criteria for a nursing home to enter Reopening Phase I.
These CMS NHSN reporting requirements are in addition to, and do not take the place of, state reporting requirements. Per the Virginia Regulations for Disease Reporting and Control (12 VAC 5-90-80), licensed nursing homes should report suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 to their local health department.
CMS will publicly post data from NHSN, including the names of specific facilities, the number of COVID-19 cases (suspected and confirmed), and deaths. The COVID-19 public use file will be available on https://data.cms.gov/. For questions related to how CMS may use these data, please reach out to the appropriate CMS help desk for further interpretation and guidance. For CMS enforcement-related questions, email DNH_Enforcement@cms.hhs.gov. For other questions or concerns regarding CMS memo QSO-20-29-NH, email DNH_TriageTeam@cms.hhs.gov.
Thank you for all you are doing on the front lines to prevent infections and provide care for nursing home residents in Virginia.