Adult Care Home and Family Care Home Rules

On March 10, 2020, the Governor of North Carolina, by issuing Executive Order No. 116, declared a state of emergency to coordinate a response and enact protective measures to help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, commonly known as COVID-19. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death. The World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Department of Health and Human Services have declared COVID-19 a public health threat and emergency. In order to protect the health and safety of citizens residing in adult care homes and family care homes and the healthcare workforce employed in these facilities, the N.C. Medical Care Commission adopted emergency and temporary rules made effective October 23, 2020 and December 30, 2020 respectively to save lives in adult care homes and family care homes and protect the health of the residents and staff.

North Carolina’s licensed adult care homes and family care homes, commonly known as “assisted living facilities,” serve a population consisting predominantly of individuals in the age range most at risk of contracting a communicable disease (65+), and individuals with one or more of the underlying health conditions that put them at even greater risk. Currently, there are no permanent rules governing the infection control procedures in facilities to prevent, report, and manage the spread of communicable diseases. Over the past few years, the population of residents in adult care homes has not only increased in age, but also in acuity of health status and medical conditions. It is critically important that facilities are prepared, and staff are trained to understand the basic infection prevention practices needed to protect residents from communicable diseases.

Because of the need, and to make rule adoptions permanent in the N.C. Administrative Code, the North Carolina Medical Care Commission proposes to ensure that adult care homes and family care homes are prepared for and adequately respond to communicable diseases, by requiring infection prevention and control policies and procedures, reporting of suspected communicable disease cases, and staff training to ensure safe care of residents and protection of facility staff.