May 4, 2020 - ISDH Issues Updated Communication Guidelines

Updated: May 6


ISDH Issues Updated Communication Guidelines Effective May 4, 2020

The Updated Communication Guidelines require nursing facilities, residential care facilities and assisted living to inform residents and designated representatives of certain COVID-19 information.  These changes were, in part, the result of member feedback.  According to Dr. Rusyniak at ISDH, the most significant changes are as follows:

  • Adding staff to reporting numbers (CMS includes both staff and resident cases)

  • Removed death out as a daily requirement. (CMS does not require this) The total number of deaths would be reported as a one-time baseline for resident representatives and residents. It’s not a daily requirement

  • Reporting to only designated representatives if residents do not have decision making capacity

  • Option to opt out for representatives and residents.  For a resident to opt out it would require both them and their representative agreeing

  • Added the CMS requirement to report if there is three (3) or more cases of residents or staff with respiratory symptoms in the last 72 hours

According to clarification provided by Dr. Rusyniak, facilities do not need to document every communication, but facilities should document their communication procedures and which residents and designated representative are included in that procedure.

Facilities should continue to complete the Long Term Care Ombudsman Facility Emergency Transfer Form weekly regarding the transfer of COVID-19 residents to other LTC facilities and email it to the local ombudsman every Friday beginning May 1, 2020.  Facilities must still complete the monthly transfer log to their local ombudsman.


MAY 1, 2020

Indiana Health Care Association (IHCA) provides excellent overview of CMS Interim Final Rule with New Requirements for COVID-19 Reporting for Long-Term Care Facilities: https://www.ihca.org/resource/may-1-2020-cms-issues-interim-final-rule-with-new-requirements-for-covid-19-reporting-for-long-term-care-facilities/

ISHD Newsletters and More

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ISDH Division of Long Term Care (LTC) has developed many LTC Newsletters.  These newsletters contain important information and updates from ISDH, Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).  The entire list of  LTC Newsletters are available at the following websites:

To subscribe to the LTC Newsletter, please email LTCNews@isdh.in.gov and include the email address(es) you wish to receive the newsletters.

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