CMS Announces New Use of CMP Funds Available to Federally Certified Nursing Homes for In-Person Visitation Aids

DHS Logo Original 07/11/2018

Division of Quality Assurance: Notifications & Updates

Attn: Federally Certified Nursing Homes

CMS Announces New Use of CMP Funds Available to Federally Certified Nursing Homes for In-Person Visitation Aids

In October 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that federally certified nursing homes were eligible to receive up to $3,000 in Civil Money Penalty (CMP) funds to purchase tents for outdoor visitation and/or clear dividers (e.g., Plexiglas or similar product) to create a physical barrier to reduce the risk of transmission during in-person visits. CMS recently announced the use of CMP funds has expanded to purchase any of the following for the purposes of in-person visitation:

  • Outdoor furniture
  • Heating units with appropriate venting
  • Lighting or electrical systems properly grounded
  • Infrared temperature scanners

Funding for tents, clear dividers, and any additional allowable items listed above, is limited to a maximum of $3,000 per facility. Facilities that have already received the full $3,000 funding for In-Person Visitation Aids may not revise their request. Any facility that wants to revise or rescind their request must notify within two weeks of this notice to explain their intention.

Please note, when installing tents, facilities need to ensure appropriate Life Safety Code requirements found at 42 CFR 483.90 are met, unless waived under the Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration. Outdoor visitation areas need to maintain safe distances between oxygen use and ignition sources. The facility smoking policy extends to outdoor visitation areas, including tents or similarly enclosed structures. Additional staff supervision will be necessary for outdoor areas that are prone to the development of any new hazard. Lastly, outdoor areas may be a source for ambulation obstructions, so facility staff need to assist resident mobility and accessibility access to minimize the likelihood of falls.

CMS has received several inquiries regarding the use of heaters in outdoor tents typically used for visitation purposes. CMS Baltimore has issued the following statement: “We [CMS] have not issued any specific instructions regarding the use of patio propane heaters, that when installing outdoor structures for visitation, facilities need to ensure appropriate life safety code and health care facilities code requirements found at 42 CFR 483.90 are met. This would also include that any State and local requirements are met.” Many state and local jurisdictions (building department, fire marshal, fire department, etc.) have specific permitting requirements for constructing temporary structures (i.e. tents) and heating sources beyond what is found in the Life Safety Code. Facilities will need to check with their respective state and local authorities for requirements BEFORE they set up these tents.

Federally certified nursing homes interested in participating in the grant program are asked to submit a competed Civil Money Penalty (CMP) Reinvestment Application Template Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to: To be considered for funding, each application must list the type of equipment, including the brand and model. Applications will be reviewed to verify that requests for equipment are within parameters established by CMS. Facilities will receive an approval letter from DQA with instructions on how to submit invoices for payment. Additional information about the grant is available in the CMS In-Person Visitation Aid Requests Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Please direct questions to For more information about the Nursing Home Grant Program, please see the DHS webpage and the CMS webpage.