The federal government is currently reviewing a rule proposed last year that would cut back infection control regulations in U.S. nursing homes, which have been epicenters of the coronavirus since the outbreak first hit the country, USA Today reported Monday. The rule, introduced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), would substantially reduce regulations in facilities. The proposed changes include limiting the time an infection preventionist spends at a particular home, as well as pushing back facility-wide assessments to every other year rather than the current requirement of once per year. Since the coronavirus first emerged in the U.S., more than 16,000 long-term care residents and staff have died of the virus and at least 97,000 have tested positive, according to USA Today.
“It makes no sense at all–prior to pandemic, but more so now during a pandemic–to roll back any of the necessary infection and control requirements and the federal regulations,” said Lindsay Heckler, an attorney at the Center for Elder Law & Justice. “They should be strengthening these infection and control requirements.”