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 Coronavirus Commission Releases Report on Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes

A new report on the independent Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes, which was delivered to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Sept. 1, 2020, is now available online.

The final report details the commission’s assessment of the nursing home response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 186-page report contains 27 principal recommendations and more than 100 accompanying action steps organized into 10 themes: Testing and Screening; Equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); Cohorting; Visitation; Communication; Workforce Ecosystem—Stopgaps for Resident Safety; Workforce Ecosystem—Strategic Reinforcement; Technical Assistance and Quality Improvement; Facilities; and Nursing Home Data.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released the following statement following the release of the final report. The following statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, association president and chief executive officer (CEO):

“We are pleased to see the commission acknowledge what we have been saying from the beginning—there must be shared responsibility with public health officials prioritizing our residents in long term care and helping facilities acquire necessary resources to combat this global pandemic. The commission’s review and findings lay out some of the important work that is needed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in nursing homes and further improve the quality of care we deliver.
 
“As we prepare for a potential rise in cases this fall, we must arm nursing homes and other long term care facilities with a steady stream of resources to ensure they have adequate tests, personal protective equipment, and staff support.”
 
CMS announced the formation of the commission on April 30, selecting
MITRE, to convene, manage, and facilitate its activities, including independently authoring and delivering a report on the commission’s findings and recommendations to the agency.

 “We appreciate the members of the commission who contributed to this important discussion and look forward to working with the administration to bring aspects of this report to fruition and keep our residents and staff safe,” said Parkinson.

The commission solicited public input via email and its website. Organizations and members of the public helped inform the commission by submitting 632 open-ended comments, formal letters, publications, and other resources, detailed in the final report.

“I want to thank the 25 commission members—from infection control experts to nursing leaders to a nursing home resident—for candidly sharing learnings and carefully shaping recommendations that have the potential to improve safety and quality of life in nursing homes immediately,” said Jay Schnitzer, MD, chief medical and technology officer at MITRE, and moderator of the commission.

“Members wrestled with challenging, sometimes competing, issues such as weighing infection control practices against psychosocial needs of residents. These complex issues do not have easy solutions, which made the diverse experience and insights of members integral to developing the recommendations and actions endorsed in the final report.”

Long term and post-acute care providers serving on the commission included Janet Snipes, executive director, Holly Heights Nursing Home, Denver; Neil Pruitt Jr., chairman and CEO, PruittHealth, Norcross, Ga.; Debra Fournier, RN, chief operations officer, Veterans Homes, Maine; Penelope Ann Shar, PhD, nursing home resident and advocate, Braintree Manor Healthcare, Braintree, Mass.; and Camille Rochelle Jordan, RN, senior vice president of clinical operations and innovations, Signature Healthcare, Louisville, Ky.

Having completed its tasks, the commission officially concluded on Sept. 1, 2020. Read the report here.

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