Trump’s $2 trillion spending bill includes $200 million in bailing out nursing homes with a windfall to improve infection-control procedures in the nation’s nursing homes. And to reward those facilities with poor infection control, the sweeping legislation would raise Medicare fee-for-service payments to nursing homes by 15% for all residents with a primary or secondary diagnosis of COVID-19 infection. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has placed infection control at the center of its emergency nursing home inspection protocols, suspending all non-emergency surveys and releasing stricter guidance for operators earlier this week.
CMS’s updated guidance was a direct reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak at a nursing facility in Kirkland, Wash., which resulted in the death of more than 25% of residents in less than three weeks from the first sign of symptoms.
“We used our experiences in Kirkland to develop a new inspection approach, and we’re also learning from the newest data about the virus and relying on longstanding principles of infection control,” CMS administrator Seema Verma said Monday.
The stimulus package also bolsters unemployment benefits by offering full pay to laid-off workers for four months, several news outlets have reported, while also sending $130 billion to hospitals.