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NHSN Implements Reporting Changes

The most recent updates to mandatory reporting of COVID-19 data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should prove to be less time-consuming for nursing homes. Despite some confusion on whether the sessions were on or cancelled, staff from the CDC held several webinars over the last two weeks that outlined changes being made to the National Healthcare Safety Network’s (NHSN) Long Term Care (LTC) COVID-19 Module. According to the CDC, changes to the main pathways became effective on Mon., May 30th. Slides from the training webinar are not yet available but will be posted on the main LTC COVID-19 Module page here. Updates to the separate weekly staff and resident vaccination status reporting module were scheduled for the same day. The slides from that training session are available here. Providers are required to submit data to each module at least once per reporting week, which runs from Monday through Sunday.

The updates to the main module decrease the number of questions that nursing homes must complete and streamline some additional ones. The “Supplies & PPE” pathway is removed, with some questions moved to other pathways. A number of questions are removed from the “Resident Impact and Facility Capacity” pathway, including those asking for COVID-19 test type and vaccine manufacturer, COVID-19 reinfections, respiratory illness, and Influenza and COVID-19. Positive antigen tests that are followed within two days by a negative nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) are no longer reported.

However, for residents who are newly COVID-19-positive, the facility must report vaccination and booster status. CDC staff stressed that vaccination status of residents newly positive must be reported in the “Resident Impact and Facility Capacity” pathway and should not be confused with the weekly COVID-19 vaccination summary data used to report cumulative vaccination coverage for residents who have received COVID-19 vaccination.

The module used to report weekly vaccination summary data has removed questions related to vaccine manufacturer and vaccine supply, simplified several others, and added two new questions regarding residents on booster doses and up to date vaccination status. While the interface of the modules and pathways seems to have been updated, the instruction documents, sample forms, and other resources posted on the NHSN website are still to be updated.

Contact: Darius Kirstein, dkirstein@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8841