DOH Reduces Annual Tuberculosis Testing of Health Care Workers

December 23, 2020

By: Craig W. Anderson and Hermes Fernandez

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has updated its regulations for annual assessments of health care personnel. Effective December 16, 2020, health care personnel in certain facilities will no longer be required to have an annual tuberculosis (TB) test. Instead, such personnel must be assessed annually for TB risk and symptom evaluation. A TB test will only be required if there are any symptoms suggestive of TB disease, or if there is a new risk for infection. (See DOH’s comments in Dec. 19, 2020 Register, available here.)

The Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) issued by DOH on December 16, 2020 explains that these changes are based on other national guidance, and in light of the fact that “an individual risk assessment is the primary screening tool, with repeat testing . . . only when indicated.”

These changes to testing requirements, which may be helpful for providers who have had difficulties in meeting the requirement in the past, apply to health care providers in the following settings:

  • Integrated Outpatient Services (under 10 NYCRR § 404.12)
  • General Hospitals (10 NYCRR § 405.3)
  • Nursing Homes (10 NYCRR § 415.26)
  • Diagnostic and Treatment Centers (10 NYCRR § 751.6)
  • Certified Home Health Agencies, Long Term Home Health Care Programs and AIDS Home Care Programs (10 NYCRR § 763.13)
  • Licensed Home Care Services Agencies and the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (10 NYCRR § 766.11)
  • Hospices (10 NYCRR § 794.3)
  • Assisted Living Residences (10 NYCRR § 1001.11) 

For more information on these and related issues impacting nursing homes, please contact Hermes Fernandez, Craig Anderson, any of the attorneys in our Health Care practice, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.