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What you need to know: Visitation allowed at some long-term care facilities in Kentucky

Published: Feb. 21, 2021 at 4:02 PM EST
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Governor Andy Beshear announced last week that visitation at long-term care facilities can continue along with other activities.

“Communal dining will also resume again for those who have been fully vaccinated,” said Gov. Beshear. “Visitation amongst residents will resume for vaccinated residents,” he added.

The Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities/Kentucky Center of Assisted Living advocate in Frankfort and offer educational tools.

“We represent the entire continuum of senior services,” said Betsy Johnson, president of the association.

Not all long-term facilities qualify. Only non-Medicare certified facilities that meet the governor’s guidelines can participate.

“That’s important because if you do get reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid, those are two different things, then you are also regulated by the federal government,” said Johnson.

Governors have authority over non-Medicare facilities. In Kentucky, that includes assisted living, personal care homes, independent living, ICF, and IDD.

“Also, those communities can start opening up their activities, their communal dining, and doing things that they normally would do,” said Johnson.

Skilled nursing facilities do not qualify for the governor’s guidelines. There is at least one skilled nursing facility in each Kentucky county.

Those facilities fall under the federal government’s guidance on visitation because they receive some money from the federal government and their residents are some of the most vulnerable. Some residents even need help with eating and dressing.

“The risk of COVID even if that building has been completely vaccinated there’s still a risk there,” said Johnson. “We’re waiting on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to revisit guidance and we’re hoping that comes very very soon,” she added.

Visitors must show they have received a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours or can show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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