CMS to end some nursing home COVID-19 emergency waivers

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will phase out pandemic-related temporary waivers to nursing home regulations, the agency announced Thursday.

The changes are being made because COVID-19 vaccination rates for residents and employees are increasing and nursing homes are better able to handle outbreaks, the agency said in a news release.

“We’ve learned a lot from the pandemic over the last two years and are committed to using that knowledge to re-envision the next chapter of healthcare quality and patient safety and build a stronger healthcare system,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in the news release.

In a memo sent to state regulators Thursday, CMS lists the temporary waivers that will end in 30 or 60 days. Those include allowing physicians to delegate tasks to physician assistants, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists and waiving training requirements for nurse aides.

“Obviously, we are disappointed. We will have to regroup and determine next steps,” Nan Impink, a spokesperson for long-term care provider SavaSeniorCare Administrative and Consulting, wrote in an email.

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