Nursing home visitation is now allowed for all residents at all times, according to updated guidance released Friday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The guidance also requires nursing homes to educate residents and staff on the risks and benefits of vaccines, offer to administer the vaccine, and continue to report resident and staff vaccination data for public posting on the CMS website, among other measures. About 86% of residents and 74% of staff are now fully vaccinated, and the average weekly number of new COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents declined 80% between January and September to 5,100, the guidance notes. 

CMS this month issued an interim final rule requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, including hospitals and nursing homes. 

On Friday, CMS also released separate guidance rescinding the requirement for state survey agencies to conduct COVID-19-focused infection control surveys within 3-5 days of an outbreak of COVID-19 in a nursing home; resuming standard recertification surveys for nursing homes; and providing flexibilities to address a backlog after the suspension of certain onsite survey activities during the pandemic.

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