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DOH Issues DAL on TB Testing Requirements

The Department of Health (DOH) on April 6th issued a Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) following up on several questions from home care providers relating to onboarding of new employees and screening of existing personnel in light of the new regulations regarding annual tuberculosis (TB) testing. The Department adopted new regulations amending 10 NYCRR 763.13, 766.11, and 794.3 and issued DAL DHCBS 20-14, "Annual TB Testing," which was followed by DAL DHCBS 21-03, and Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Annual TB Testing.  The changes mark a shift from annual TB testing of employees to creation of a baseline for each employee that is accompanied by education and encouragement of employees with latent TB infection (LTBI) to seek treatment in order to prevent progression to active disease. The DAL also applies to Personal Assistants under the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP).

The DAL addresses onboarding and baseline screening of prospective employees, testing options including appropriateness and timing of the interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) and tuberculin skin tests (TST), TB testing and COVID-19 vaccination, annual screening and education, out-of-country travel by employees, exposure to TB, and adult homes and enriched housing programs. 

LeadingAge NY is working with DOH to explore options to avoid delays in onboarding of new staff in light of some of the requirements laid out in the DAL regarding onboarding and timing of TB testing and COVID-19 vaccination. We will keep members abreast of any developments on this front.

Members should note that the revised TB regulations pertain to nursing homes, hospitals, hospices, Certified Home Health Agencies (CHHAs), Licensed Home Care Services Agencies (LHCSAs), and Assisted Living Residences (ALRs). The Department is currently in the process of revising the regulations to include personnel of Adult Care Facilities (ACFs) and Assisted Living Programs (ALPs), which were inadvertently omitted. Additional questions about TB should be directed to the DOH Bureau of Tuberculosis Control at tbcontrol@health.ny.gov.

Contact: Meg Everett, meverett@leadingageny.org, or Diane Darbyshire, ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org. Both can be reached at 518-867-8383.