There is a common saying in healthcare – “if it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen.” In the healthcare industry, and particularly in the long-term care (“LTC”) sector, clinical and operational documentation has long been critical for purposes of ensuring appropriate patient care and demonstrating compliance with the myriad regulatory requirements imposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), as well as state licensing and Medicaid agencies.
COVID-19 clearly presents unique challenges to LTC facilities. Although infection control and emergency planning protocols are not new to LTC facilities, the rapidly changing landscape of guidance issued by federal, state, and local regulatory bodies relating to COVID-19 has placed LTC facilities in a position where they must implement, and simultaneously communicate to staff, residents, and resident family members, new or updated clinical and operational protocols on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Given the urgency in ensuring appropriate protocols are in place, there is often an emphasis on action, as opposed to documenting the actions taken.
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