CMS Updates Visitation Guidance

CMS Updates Visitation Guidance

CMS memo QSO-20-39-NH-REVISED revises visitation, outings, dining/activities. Visitation changes eliminate most restrictions on visitation. Visitation is now permitted at any time for all residents, regardless of vaccination status, nursing home outbreak status, or implementation of transmission-based precautions. Nursing homes may no longer require scheduling, limit number of visitors, limit length or frequency of visitors, or limit number of overall visitors in the nursing home at one time. Large gatherings continue to be discouraged, and all must continue to adhere to core infection control principles. This includes masking and social distancing, which is recommended or required within certain parameters. Dining/activities and resident outings are all permitted without limitation provided core infection control principles are followed. Nursing homes may continue to offer testing and/or vaccination to visitors but may not restrict visits based on vaccination status or refusal to test. The memo explicitly states that nursing homes may not restrict surveyors’ access based on vaccination status nor is the nursing home permitted to ask for proof of vaccination as a condition of entry. Nursing homes should refer questions about the process used to ensure surveyors are safe to enter a nursing home to the state survey agency.

However, WA State’s Safe Start Plan has not yet been updated to reflect these changes and continues to be more restrictive than the CMS guidelines. Please continue to follow the Safe Start plan until further notice.




Laura Hofmann, MSN, RN – Director of Clinical and Nursing Facility Regulatory Services
c: 425-231-4804