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CMS Releases Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Distribution

CMS maze of rules and regulations

New guidelines clarify conditions and processes covering COVID-19 antigen test distribution to nursing homes.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidelines that outline the conditions and processes that will be used to distribute federally funded SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests to nursing homes across the US. These guidelines were released on August 5, 2020, in the form of a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document.

These CMS guidelines include 27 FAQs and detailed answers to each question. These questions address a variety of topics, including:

  • Who will be receiving antigen tests and instruments and how many per entity will be distributed;
  • How distributions will be prioritized and scheduled;
  • How training for these new devices will be provided;
  • The plans for future distributions;
  • Safety precautions that should be taken when performing these tests;
  • How the antigen tests function and their clinical significance;
  • The regulations and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) requirements for providing SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing; and
  • Special, state-specific exemptions or requirements.

Clinical laboratories or test distributers wishing to learn more about the details regulating the distribution of SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests should visit the CMS FAQs here.

Regulatory Resource:

Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 Testing at Skilled Nursing Facilities/ Nursing Homes