I wanted to provide you all with additional information that we have received based upon communications with HHSC regarding yesterday's announcement about Phase 1 visitation in NFs and ALFs. Based on the information contained in the HHSC press release and media coverage, we’re aware that facilities are receiving calls from families inquiring about visitation and it’s made it difficult when there aren’t answers to provide. Please know we have relayed these concerns and the need for immediate additional guidance. Here is some additional information you may share when speaking with families.
Additional specifics, guidance and clarification on the responsibilities and requirements for providers to allow for family visitation are forthcoming (anticipated today) in the form of a Provider Letter as well as Emergency Rule language (in light of the Governor’s Executive Order extension on visitation restrictions at the end of July)
Both Nursing Facilities (NFs) and Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) who meet the conditions for family visitation will have to submit an attestation form, prior to beginning visits, indicating compliance w/ the conditions that will be set forth. It is our understanding these attestation forms will have a 3 day turnaround for NFs. However, the length of time to receive confirmation for ALFs is not clear.
Anticipate language that requires visits to be conducted by appointment as scheduled by the facility, so as to allow for coordination by the facility (i.e. necessary space and staff availability) and to provide time for cleaning and disinfection between visits.
NFs will have to demonstrate weekly testing of staff is being performed and the facility has been COVID free for a specified period of time. The specifics on the type of tests acceptable should be in the forthcoming information.
Given the magnitude of this announcement, I realize this information is limited and understand there are many other questions that exist. There are many questions we’ve already asked as we await additional information. Hopefully, you may use this to communicate more clearly with families in the meantime. Once the emergency rule and provider letter is made public, we will continue to work with the agency and our members to seek clarification on issues that need to be addressed.