DHS Re-issues Respiratory Outbreak Guidance to Post-Acute Facilities; Concerns Remain

September 24, 2020

As reported in last week’s Valued Voice, on September 17, 2020,  the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) issued guidance on the prevention and control of respiratory illness outbreaks, including COVID-19, in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). WHA’s concerns that this guidance could harm hospitals’ ability to discharge patients to post-acute care have been borne out. Since the guidance was issued, WHA has received reports from hospitals throughout the state that, because of the guidance, LTCFs are restricting new admissions. Some hospitals are now holding patients who are ready for discharge because there is no available discharge destination.

On September 21, WHA along with a concerned and informed group of hospitals from across the state and the state’s two associations representing nursing homes - LeadingAge Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Health Care Association - met with DHS to convey their concerns with the guidance on respiratory outbreaks.

On September 23, DHS issued revised guidance. While the new guidance clarifies admission guidance for a long-term care facility (LTCF) with a non-direct resident care staff member who is COVID-19 positive, important issues remain. WHA will continue to work with the long-term care community and DHS on these issues. 

Questions and comments about this guidance may be directed to Laura Rose and Laura Leitch, WHA’s contacts for post-acute care issues.

This story originally appeared in the September 24, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter