Coronavirus update 04/22/2020

Coronavirus pandemic update April 22, 2020 

Increased Reporting of COVID-19 Cases to CDC Welcome  

We are now several weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected communities, hospitals and nursing homes across the country. We want to thank our entire staff who continue to work tirelessly, as we do everything in our power to protect and keep our patients, residents and employees as healthy and safe as possible.  

In an April 19 announcement, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator, Seema Verma, said the agency will now be requiring skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) to report confirmed cases of COVID-19 to residents and families, as well as directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Detailed guidance is forthcoming later this week from CMS. 

At Genesis HealthCare, not only do we fully support this, we welcome it. It is consistent with how we operate already with both state health authorities and residents and their families. Ensuring that not only state health departments, but also the CDC have this information in a timely manner will help address current national problems, such as shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the availability and speed of testing. It also will allow federal and state health authorities to better target support efforts and resources where they are needed most.  

Since the first display of symptoms in the first Genesis facility, we have followed a rigorous practice of immediately informing staff, patients, residents and families regarding coronavirus developments. When a resident or patient has been diagnosed as positive, our practice has been to immediately notify the appropriate state authorities, as well as the resident and their families or other responsible parties, and then to notify remaining patients, residents and their families/other responsible parties. Following that, our centers keep state health authorities informed of new developments. We also hold daily video conference calls for patients, residents and their families or other responsible parties to provide updates. 

And when a resident or patient passes away, and we are faced with the painful reality of needing to inform families, we mourn and grieve with them.  

We continue to be grateful for the support we have been receiving from local, state and federal health officials. Yet, the fight against this pandemic is far from over.  

Therefore, we will continue to push for nursing homes to be prioritized for both PPE and broader, faster testing. We will continue to respond appropriately as we learn and adapt to new developments. We will continue to overcome the unprecedented challenges associated with this difficult time and to work nonstop to protect our patients, residents and staff until normalcy is returned.   

Dr. Richard Feifer 
Chief Medical Officer 
Genesis HealthCare