Skilled Nursing Facility

CMS releases protective mask guidance for SNFs

CMS expanded the range of acceptable facemasks and respirators that can temporarily be used in SNFs in a March 10 memo. “CMS is working in lockstep with the CDC, FDA, and other Trump Administration partners to protect both patients and the dedicated healthcare workers who are battling the spread of Coronavirus,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in the memo. Facemasks are now considered an acceptable temporary alternative to respirators until supplies can be replenished.

In response to an N95 mask shortage, CMS alerted state survey agencies (SSAs) that they are temporarily not required to validate the date of SNF’s last annual N95 mask fitting test.

Additionally, the FDA approved a CDC request that SNFs be able to temporarily use non-FDA approved industrial respirators that have been approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.