On April 19, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) ordered nursing homes to tell residents, families, and the government about cases of COVID-19 in their facilities.
Nursing homes will have 12 hours to tell residents and their family representatives of a coronavirus diagnosis and give weekly updates.
The same rules will apply if at least 3 residents or staff develop new respiratory symptoms within 72 hours.
The new rules were introduced after many families with loved ones in nursing homes complained that they were unable to get information about COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities.
In a lawsuit against the Life Care Center of Kirkland, the daughter of a woman who died of suspected COVID-19 said she was never told that there were COVID-19 cases in the facility.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the agency will soon release data on coronavirus deaths among nursing home residents and staff.
At least 7,300 people living in nursing homes have died after being infected with COVID-19, according to a survey of state records by ABC News — but because only 19 states are reporting data, the actual number of deaths is likely far higher.
An investigation by the Washington Post found that nearly 1 in 10 nursing homes in the U.S. have publicly reported cases of coronavirus, but many more were not reported.