GNYHA has received multiple inquiries over the last several weeks on what is required of health care facilities to comply with State and national standards for screening health care workers for COVID-19 symptoms at the start of each shift. We contacted the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) for clarification. After a period of internal review and discussion with the New York State Department of Health, CMS has informed GNYHA that compliance with its infection control Conditions of Participation requires hospitals to adhere to nationally recognized standards and practices, in this case the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic, dated July 15, 2020. This guidance (see page 2) recommends that providers “Screen everyone entering the healthcare facility” (including health care personnel) for symptoms consistent with COVID-19” and “actively take their temperature and document absence of symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Fever is either temperature greater than or equal to 100° F or subjective fever.” CMS noted that it does not favor one method for temperature taking over another and both oral temperature and thermal screening are acceptable. CMS also noted that the burden is on the hospital to demonstrate that its infection prevention policies and practices are consistent with this CDC guidance.

Questions can be sent directly to CMS at ronydsc@cms.hhs.gov.

GNYHA will continue to monitor this issue for any updates or modifications to CDC’s guidance.