According an Interim Final Rule on COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), owners/operators in the skilled nursing/nursing facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs-IID) spaces must develop and implement policies and procedures to:

• Educate all residents and staff about COVID-19 vaccines; and
• Offer vaccination to all residents and staff.

The rule also specifically requires skilled nursing and nursing facilities to report to the National Health and Safety Network (NHSN) vaccination status for residents and staff as well as use of any therapeutic treatments (for example, monoclonal antibody). It is important to note that reporting is not required for ICFs-IID; however, CMS strongly encourages voluntary reporting.

The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) said civil money penalties (CMPs) under the new rule will automatically process if nursing facilities fail to report their vaccination rates by mid-June.

The rule went into effect on May 21, so facilities that are not submitting the NHSN Vaccination and Therapeutics modules now are not in compliance. However, CMS has provided a grace period to work through the bumps in reporting, and it will not issue enforcement until June 14.

To achieve or maintain compliance, AHCA/NCAL recommends that facilities report data to the NHSN COVID-19 Vaccination and Therapeutics modules immediately.

“Skilled nursing and nursing facilities should not delay in submitting their COVID-19 vaccination data and therapeutics data to NHSN. Facilities are required to submit data via NHSN by June 13 by midnight in order to avoid penalties (CMPs),” AHCA/NCAL said.

“However, submitting vaccination data at the last minute will very likely lead to challenges with the submission process that will not be resolved before the deadline.”

Also, facilities should start submitting data immediately to the two modules (COVID-19 Vaccination and Therapeutics) to make sure they learn how to do it correctly.

AHCA/NCAL said providers do not need to upgrade to SAMS Level-3 (Secure Access Management Services) access to submit vaccination data. Providers should have at least two people trained with a process in place to prevent gaps in reporting (that is, vacations, illness, resignation/termination) and to maintain compliance with reporting requirements, the association added.

NHSN COVID-19 Training and Instructions for Completion
• COVID-19 Therapeutics Module
• COVID-19 Therapeutics Training
• COVID-19 Therapeutics Slide set
• COVID-19 Therapeutics Data Collection Form
• COVID-19 Therapeutics Table of Instructions for Completion
• COVID-19 Vaccination Module
• COVID-19 Vaccination Training
• COVID-19 Vaccination Data Collection Form for Residents
• COVID-19 Vaccination Data Table of Instructions for Residents
• COVID-19 Vaccination Data Collection Form for Staff
• COVID-19 Vaccination Data Table of Instructions for Staff