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Updates to Michigan Nursing Home COVID-19 Regulatory Requirements

Nursing HomeThrough Executive Order 2020-136, Governor Whitmer has extended the duration of restrictions on the entry of visitors into health care facilities and residential care facilities. These restrictions were originally imposed through Executive Order 2020-72 and extended through Executive Order 2020-108. Executive Order 2020-136 now extends the restrictions through July 24, 2020.

I. Visitor Restrictions

The restrictions prohibit health care and residential care facilities from allowing visitors who are not necessary for the provision of medical care, the support of activities of daily living, or the exercise of power of attorney or court-appointed guardianship. Permitted visitors are limited to parents or guardians of an individual under the age of 21 under the facility’s care, those visiting an individual in serious or critical condition, and those visiting under exigent circumstances or performing official governmental functions.

The health care and residential care facilities are required to perform a health evaluation of any individual who seeks to enter the facility that is not under the care of the facility. The health evaluation must be performed each time that the individual enters the facility, and their entry must be denied if they do not meet the evaluation criteria. Executive Order 2020-136 defines the evaluation criteria for all health care and residential care facilities to be: any symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath, any contact in the last 14 days with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, and any other criteria as specified by the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”).

All staff and visitors of a residential care facility are required to wear a face covering when indoors or within six feet of others. “Residential care facility” includes homes for the aged, nursing homes, adult foster care facilities, hospice facilities, substance abuse disorder residential facilities, independent living facilities, and assisted living facilities.

II. Update to MDHHS Testing Requirements ‚Äč

On June 15, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“MDHHS”) issued an order requiring nursing homes to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID-19 of all staff members by July 3, 2020. Nursing homes will be reimbursed by the State of Michigan for the cost of all COVID-19 tests for staff members that are not covered by insurance. Most recently, on June 25, 2020, MDHHS has updated the requirement for nursing homes in Regions 1-5 and 7 to obtain testing of all staff by July 17, 2020. The original order requiring testing is available here.

Nursing homes can submit a request for support for staff and resident testing by contacting MDHHS-LTCRequests@michigan.gov. A request for support must be received by July 6, 2020.

III. Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force

Due to the ongoing threat that COVID-19 poses to nursing home residents, Governor Whitmer has established the Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force in Executive Order 2020-135. The Task Force will be made up of government officials, legislators, epidemiologists, professional health care associations, physicians and direct care workers. The purpose of the Task Force is to prepare for any future wave of COVID-19 cases. The Task Force will develop an action plan based on ongoing COVID-19 data.

Specifically, the Task Force will be made up of: the director of DHHS, or a designee from within DHHS, the director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (“LARA”), or a designee from within LARA, the Michigan State Long Term Care Ombudsman, or a designee from within the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, two members of the Michigan House of Representatives appointed by the governor, two members of the Michigan Senate appointed by the governor, and thirteen other members, including those with a personal or professional interest in the health and safety of nursing home residents and staff.

One of the responsibilities of the Task Force is to provide a recommended action plan on how to prepare nursing homes for future threats of COIVD-19 by August 31, 2020. The Task Force will assist in preparing and informing the state’s response to a potential second wave of COVID-19.

Contact a member of Foster Swift’s Health Care Group with any questions on complying with the regulatory requirements for nursing homes.

While the information in this article is accurate at time of publication, the laws and regulations surrounding COVID-19 are constantly evolving. Please consult your attorney or advisor to make sure you have the most up to date information before taking action.

Categories: Hospice, Hospitals

 has particular expertise in health law and she represents providers with emphasis in the areas of physicians, hospice, home care and long term care, including one of the country’s largest long-term care organizations. She has a vast array of experience in teaming with providers in the areas of regulatory compliance and contracts. 

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