CMS resumes on-site routine inspections 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it has resumed routine inspections of all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers to improve the safety and quality of life of patients and residents. CMS had previously suspended certain routine inspections as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic to prioritize infection control and immediate jeopardy situations, and to give health care providers and suppliers time needed to respond to the spread of COVID-19. CMS has directed the resumption of on-site revisit surveys, non-immediate jeopardy complaint surveys and annual recertification surveys as soon as resources are available. In addition, CMS provided guidance on resolving enforcement cases that were previously on hold. 

HHS awards $79 million to aid reconstruction

The Department of Health & Human Services announced more than $79 million in awards for construction and other capital support for 165 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-funded health centers impacted by Hurricanes Florence and Michael, Typhoon Mangkut, Super Typhoon Yutu, wildfires and earthquakes occurring in calendar year 2018, and tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019. “HRSA-funded health centers are uniquely positioned to deliver needed services during an emergency,” says HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “This funding will ensure affected health centers have the resources they need to maintain operations during a crisis.”

HHS releases workforce management toolkit

The COVID-19 Workforce Virtual Toolkit from the Department of Health & Human Services is a curated set of resources and tools for decision-makers managing health care workforce challenges in response to the COVID-19 emergency. This collection focuses on plans, tools, templates and other immediately implementable resources to help with COVID-19 preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation efforts. The toolkit includes workforce protection and workforce training resources. It also provides tools to help plan for patient surges. Its resilience and sustainability resources section discusses how to support workers, the importance of self-care and how to manage exposed and/or sick workers. 

NIOSH releases assessment of non-NIOSH respirators

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a report summarizing the particulate filtration efficiency of non-NIOSH-approved N95 respirators made in other countries and authorized for emergency use during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The agency conducted 105 assessments of 102 models made by 87 manufacturers at the request of states, health care providers, non-health care employers, first responders and others. About 40% of the respirators tested below 95% particulate filtration efficiency for all units tested, 33% above 95% for all units tested and 27% had mixed results. Based in part on these results, the Food and Drug Administration removed 57 respirators from its international emergency use authorization list, the report notes.