CMS Lifts Nursing Home Visitation Restrictions
By: Emily H. Lineweaver
On November 12, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated its COVID-19 nursing home visitation policy to now allow visitation for all residents at all times. CMS noted that, during this Public Health Emergency, restrictions on full open visitation had been put in place because of the clinical health and safety risk full open visitation posed at the time. However, now “current nursing home COVID-19 data shows approximately 86% of residents and 74% of staff are fully vaccinated, and the number of new COVID-19 cases each week has been dramatically reduced.” In light of this, “continued restrictions on this vital resident’s right are no longer necessary.”
Facilities must now allow indoor visitation at all times for all residents and can no longer limit the frequency and length of visits for residents, the number of visitors, or require advance scheduling of visits. The updated guidance does provide that visitors who have a positive viral test for COVID-19, symptoms of COVID-19, or currently meet the criteria for quarantine, should not enter the facility. Facilities should continue to screen all who enter for these visitation exclusions, require face coverings or masks and require physical distancing in accordance with CDC guidance. To view this updated CMS guidance, click here.