CMS: Updates Visitation Guidance; Access to Ombudsman

CMS: Updates Visitation Guidance; Access to Ombudsman

CMS updated QSO-20-28-NH on July 9th, adding a section to the memo (page 3) on resident access to the LTC Ombudsman, and has updated the FAQ’s to include this information.

Access to Ombudsman

Sections 1819(c)(3)(A) and 1919(c)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act (the Act) and implementing regulations at 42 CFR 483.10(f)(4)(i)(C), require that a Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home provide representatives of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman with immediate access to any resident, however during this Public Health Emergency (PHE) in person access may be restricted. If in-person access is not advisable due to infection control concerns and transmission of COVID-19, facilities must facilitate resident communication (e.g., by phone or through use of other technology) with the ombudsman. Additionally, through this memo, CMS is ensuring nursing homes and other stakeholders are aware of the implementation of the recent CARES Act which states State Long-Term Care Ombudsman shall have continued direct access (or other access through the use of technology) to residents of long term care facilities during any portion of the public health emergency relating to coronavirus until September 30, 2020.

The CARES Act does not repeal or amend CMS requirements under sections 1819 or 1919 of the Act or implementing regulations. Nor does it place a time limit or expiration date (e.g., until September 30, 2020) on the CMS requirements providing for resident access to the Ombudsman program, but instead affirms that the current pandemic requires the Ombudsman program and long term care facilities to support resident access and communication in a variety of methods. For additional information regarding resident access to the Ombudsman please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Nursing Home Visitation.




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