New Visitation Rules for Nursing Homes Announced

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued guidance that provides ways for nursing facilities to allow families to make in-person visits, which have mostly been banned since the pandemic began.

Nursing homes have been a major source of COVID-19 outbreaks in Kansas and other states.

The state Department of Health and Environment’s report last week on coronavirus clusters showed 14 of 29 clusters in the state were tied to nursing homes in 11 counties.

The federal guidance says nursing facilities should continue to follow basic safety measures, such as social distancing and temperature screenings.

Homes subject to the federal guidelines can allow indoor visits if they have no new COVID-19 cases for 14 days, and are not conducting active outbreak testing.

The CMS said facilities could be fined if they don’t adopt the new guidelines without a valid reason.

Officials say it will take time to implement the new guidelines, because every facility will have to follow the protocols based on their different challenges.

Some other long-term care centers in the state are not subject to the guidelines.

State officials said they would use the federal guidelines to issue state guidance for those facilities.