19 March 2021

MDHHS Rescinds March 2, 2021 Guidance on Visitation and Testing at Residential Care Facilities

Effective immediately, MDHHS has rescinded its March 2, 2021 guidance on visitation to residential care facilities. In its place, MDHHS has instructed that residential care facilities shall follow the guidance provided by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidance at: QSO-20-39-NH.  The CMS guidance encourages residential care facilities to offer visitation to its visitors consistent with safety protocols aimed at minimizing the spread of COVID-19, but does not require a COVID-19 test prior to visitation. The guidance from CMS can be found here:

The order additionally requires residential care facilities to:

  • Make efforts to allow communal dining and groups activities to occur in a manner that minimizes the spread of COVID-19
  • Inform employees and residents as soon as possible, but within 12 hours when an employee or resident has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Inform legal guardians or healthcare proxies for all of a confirmed COVID-19 positive employee or resident no more than 24 hours after identification, and post a visible notice in the facility that there is a confirmed positive case for 14 days after the last positive case of an employee or resident in the facility.
  • Comply with any necessary contact tracing efforts.
  • Maintain and report records of positive COVID-19 cases, including presumed positive cases, consistent with MDHHS guidance.

The order also requires that “Independent Living Facilities” to:

  • “Contact the local health department in the facility’s jurisdiction to report the presence of a confirmed COVID-19 positive employee or resident
  • Support and comply with contact tracing efforts as requested.”