COVID-19 General Updates

May 22, 2020

FAQ Friday

This week, we are addressing the question on everyone’s mind…What does a safe reopening strategy look like? There are many uncertainties and considerations. Reopening guidance is coming from state and county officials, CMS, and AHCA. It’s complicated, there is no playbook, and it comes with challenges, including costly testing requirements.

Q: As America begins to reopen, how do we know when it’s safe to reopen our facilities and how do we stay in compliance with the guidance from state officials and CMS?

A: Our President and CEO, Phil Fogg, is the Vice-Chair of AHCA and has just been appointed to the new Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes ordered by President Trump.  He is having extensive conversations regarding the reopening plans and we will keep Consonus Customers up-to-date on the latest guidance and strategies.

Q: What is the latest guidance from CMS about reopening?

A: On 5/18/2020  CMS released a Memo and Guidance regarding reopening.

Guidance Directed To:

  • The Guidance is directed to state leaders, towards developing their policies related to Nursing Homes and Reopening.
  • Each state will issue their guidance/recommendations specific to that state’s LTC facilities.
  • Providers should reference and look for the specific guidance and requirements as they are issued from your individual states.

On 5/19/2020, CDC released two updated resources:

Performing Facility-Wide SARS CoV-2 Testing in Nursing homes
Testing Guidance for Nursing Homes

This is a topic that continues to evolve and can vary from state-to-state and county-to-county. We’ll be sharing our interpretations of the guidelines and our reopening strategies in two education opportunities, listed at the bottom of this update. 

Q: What is Consonus Pharmacy’s reopening plan?

A: Consonus Pharmacy’s reopening plan will be coordinated in conjunction with CMS’s Phase III. 

  • The plan will follow CDC and state guidance and will factor in consideration of your corporate and facility protocols.
  • Consonus pharmacy modified operations to meet the CDC and CMS restrictions under Covid 19 while helping to maintain your compliance with CMS Rules of Participation.
  • Modifications included:
    • Pharmacist medication regimen reviews via remote health record access.
    • Education programming and QAPI attendance via web conference and nurse consultation via electronic health record checks and online conferencing.
    • Delivery via disposable packaging and no touch protocols.
    • We have a listing of considerations for prioritization of any onsite consultation when the time is right and look forward to working with you in partnership as you formulate your reopening plans.

Q: How can I stay up-to-date with latest guidance on reopening and how do I start preparing strategies for my facility or community?

A: There are two education opportunities coming up. See details below.


Reopening guidance is coming from local state and county officials as well as CMS. It’s complicated, there is no playbook, and it comes with challenges, including testing requirements. In an upcoming webinar for Consonus Customers, we’re addressing reopening strategies and testing requirements. 

WHAT: COVID-19 Reopening Strategies Webinar

WHEN: Friday, May 29th from 9:00-10:00am PST

FEATURING: Phil Fogg, CEO, Marquis Companies & Consonus Healthcare and April Diaz, VP Clinical Services, Marquis Companies

REGISTRATION: This webinar is invite-only. Invites were sent on May 21st. If you would like more information, please contact us to learn more. 



We are partnering with McKnight’s Long Term Care News to bring CE-approved education to you in their COVID-19 Online Forum. Register today to learn more about reopening, testing, and the financial future. 

WHAT: Navigating COVID-19: Clinical Best Practices & Financial Future

WHEN: Thursday, June 4th at 7:30am PST

FEATURING: Steve Fogg, CFO, Marquis Companies & Consonus Healthcare and April Diaz, VP Clinical Services, Marquis Companies

REGISTRATION: Register today by clicking here.



Do you have questions about COVID-19?

Email us at and we will answer commonly asked questions.

Check back next Friday for more FAQs. 


May 15, 2020

FAQ Friday

We’re back this week with more COVID-19 questions. We’re providing answers and pairing them with resources. Read on!

Q: What is the latest criteria for return to work for healthcare personnel with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?

A: CDC released new guidance on April 30, 2020. The summary of recent changes includes:

  • Changed the name of the ‘non-test-based strategy’ to the ‘symptom-based strategy’ for those with symptoms and the ‘time-based-strategy’ for those without symptoms, and updated these to extend the duration of exclusion from work to at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared. This update was made based on evidence suggesting a longer duration of culturable viral shedding and will be revised as additional evidence becomes available.
  • Based on this extension of the symptom-based and time-based strategies, language about the test-based strategy being preferred was removed.
  • Removed specifying use of nasopharyngeal swab collection for the Test-Based Strategy and linked to the Interim Guidelines for Collectin, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), so that the most current specimen collection strategies are recommended.

Read the Consonus Employee Return to Work with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 Policy

Q: As we continue to deal with COVID-19, where can we find education and strategies to improve depression and anxiety symptoms in our residents living with dementia?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to how we live our lives.  For our residents, the altered daily routines, uncertainty and social isolation, can lead to stress, fear, sadness and loneliness. Mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, can worsen. For those living with dementia, it may even be harder to cope as they may or may not be able to fully comprehend the reasoning behind all the changes. Individuals living with dementia are therefore at a greatly increased risk for depression and anxiety due to isolation and changes in daily routine they have been experiencing.  Recognizing changes that may signal symptoms of a mood or emotional disorder is vital in providing the best possible care and responding effectively.

Consonus pharmacy is committed to providing resources and education for our Memory Care communities.  We believe in the philosophy of Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care and the goal to provide a positive dementia care culture. We have consultants who are certified trainers for Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach® to Care (PAC) and educate on dementia related awareness and provide knowledge and skill development in group settings. Please reach out to your consultant if you are interested in resources or education around this topic.

We are pleased to announce that Teepa Snow is presenting a live webinar on to help providers recognize and respond more accurately to depression and anxiety to reduce the chances for escalation and ‘non-helpful’ hospitalizations. This is a free event for all on May 28th from 12:00-1:00 PM PST.

Click here for registration.

Q: What else can we do to help lift the spirits of residents and staff during this time?

A: Consonus has created a three-part Positivity Campaign to help lift the spirits of our residents and staff. In addition, we have joined you in celebrating the efforts of all health care staff working in our facilities and communities. Our healthcare workers have been nothing short of heroes!  We launched a movement to show staff how grateful we are for the sacrifices they are making as we work together to combat COVID-19. To show our gratitude, we created posters, flyers, stickers and window clings for our facilities and communities. We see many are proudly displaying them. With the help of your staff, customers, friends, family, and communities we are celebrating vitality in the lives of seniors and senior healthcare workers every day!

If you would like more stickers or window clings, please reach out to your consultant nurse or pharmacist or your rehab area director.

#HealthcareHeroes #VirtuallyVital #SendSeniorsLove

Learn about the Positivity Campaign


Do you have questions about COVID-19?

Email us at and we will answer commonly asked questions.

Check back next Friday for more FAQs. 


May 8, 2020

FAQ Friday

We’re back this week with more COVID-19 questions. We’re providing answers and pairing them with resources. Read on!

Q: I have a few residents that are not currently signed up with Consonus Pharmacy within my assisted living community and the family is no longer able to pick up medications and deliver them. How might I help the individual residents or families?

A: We understand this can be a challenging time and the last thing we want is for a resident to worry about receiving and managing their medications. We’re outlining 5 ways Consonus Pharmacy can help minimize disruptions and maintain medication safety.

Read the FAQ

Q: What do I need to know about the CMS final rule QSO-20-29 that was issued on May 6, 2020? 

A: On May 6, 2020, CMS released QSO-20-29, “Interim Final Rule Updating Requirements for Notification of Confirmed and Suspected COVID-19 Cases Among Residents and Staff in Nursing Homes.” This includes updates on Infection Control Surveys and Updated Infection Control Survey Template.

New F tags:

  • F884 – Reporting to CDC  – COVID19 NSHN
    • Effective 5/1/2020.  First reporting to be by 11:59 on 5/17/2020
    • Grace period of 2 weeks given up to 5/24/2020.
    • Expectation to begin now.
    • If not met and cited on Federal /State IC survey. 
      • CMP will be issued $1,000 first occurrence, increasing by week of non-compliance by $500.  ($1500)
  • F885 – Notification to resident and families of COVID positive
    • When positive COVID  resident or staff, notifications by 5pm the next day.
    • Each subsequent Positive case of staff or residents
    • Weekly updates when Positive cases for staff /  residents.

CDC’s NHSN is supporting the nation’s COVID-19 response by introducing a new COVID-19 Module for Long Term Care Facilities. 

Are you enrolled and ready for the mandatory reporting? Click here for more information. 


Do you have questions about COVID-19?

Email us at and we will answer commonly asked questions.

Check back next Friday for more FAQs. 


May 1, 2020

FAQ Friday

We’re back this week with four more COVID-19 questions. We’re providing answers and pairing them with resources. Read on!

Q: How long will this last? How bad could it get? How long will it take to get back to normal?

A: Phil Fogg, CEO of Marquis Companies and Consonus Healthcare, answers these questions in a webinar presentation with McKnight’s Long Term Care News. He shares COVID-19 lessons learned, why leadership counts, and a look into the future.

View the presentation


Q: How are you managing media inquiries? What is your COVID-19 media plan?

A: Today, we are faced with the reality that if there is a COVID-19 case in a hospital, it’s a statistic, but in a skilled nursing facility, it’s a story. In addition, media inquiries are frequent as reporters are searching for COVID-19 headlines and stories. The goal is to stay out of the headlines while providing relevant and accurate information. If a reporter is interested in your facility, the next goal is to evaluate the inquiry, identify the best response strategy and process, and respond in a timely manner. In an ideal world, the responsibility of managing media could be centralized, when possible, so facility management can stay focused on staff and resident safety. Like you, we’ve been faced with countless media inquiries and we’re sharing the toolkit and plan we implemented to navigate these challenging times.

View the COVID-19 Media Plan Toolkit


Q: What do we need to know about Remdesivir use for COVID-19?

A: Dr. Fauci says Remdesivir is a “very important first step” in fighting coronavirus and will set a new “standard of care” for treatment. The Consonus Pharmacy team put together 6 things to know about Remdesivir.

View the FAQ for Remdesivir COVID-19


Q: As CMS allowed only nominal waivers to the Rules of Participation, how have the Consonus Pharmacy consultants adapted services to maintain regulatory requirements to meet facility and community needs?

A: The Consonus Pharmacy consulting team adapted quickly to innovate ways of working within the COVID-19 restrictions. We are pleased to announce through leveraging of technology and remote resources that there were no delays in scheduled visits by the nurse and pharmacist teams. Not only are our nurse and pharmacist consultants helping customers navigate COVID-19 issues that may arise, but also, we are continuing to monitor the safety and compliance of existing systems. We are sharing just a few ways that Consonus Pharmacy consultants have quickly adapted and are monitoring remotely.

Read the Update from May 1st


Q: How do I make decisions about potentially exposed staff when there is a positive COVID-19 resident or staff member at our facility/community?

A:  CDC has outlined a clear process to determine appropriate work restrictions once there is a positive COVID-19 patient/resident or employee in the facility. It can be found here.

  1. Determine who had contact with this person during the exposure period (2 days prior to the onset of symptoms through current).
  2. Determine the type of contact they had as it relates to distance, amount of time, procedures being completed and type of PPE worn.
  3. Use the grid at the CDC website to determine the risk level for each person (None, Low, Med, High).
  4. Follow the work restriction based on the risk level.

Using this guidance, here are a couple of potential scenarios.

Please note the importance of sharing information about positive residents and staff in your facility/community with your Consonus Rehab Director and Area Director immediately, so we can help manage the process of determining risk to our employees and implementing appropriate work restrictions in a timely manner.


Do you have questions about COVID-19?

Email us at and we will answer commonly asked questions.

Check back next Friday for more FAQs. 



April 24, 2020

FAQ Friday

At Consonus, we believe in honesty and transparency. We believe in learning from one another and partnering together. We believe in bringing forward actionable information. With Marquis Companies, a post-acute provider, as our parent, Consonus is uniquely qualified to share best practices. Last week, we shared a video of Laurie Schadegg Thomas interviewing Phil Fogg about where our industry is headed. We asked you to send us questions.

You Asked! Here’s Our Answers!

Q: How do you keep up staff morale during a time like this and how do you celebrate staff?

A: Healthcare workers around the world are being acknowledged for their extraordinary efforts during this crisis. Senior healthcare workers have not made the highlights of mainstream media. But day after day, night after night, the staff walk through the doors of senior care campuses across the nation, ready for service. Only one word does them justice: Heroes. To this end, we started a positivity program to celebrate our Healthcare Heroes and express our gratitude to all senior healthcare staff who are making sacrifices around the world to care for those in need. Join the movement!

Watch the video and download your free #HealthcareHeroes printable


Q: How do you ensure families and staff hear from you about a positive COVID case before the media? What are you communication protocols under the new CMS requirements?

A: Communication with staff, residents, and responsible parties during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical. It’s imperative that staff and families learn about COVID changes in their environment directly from the provider, rather than the media. We are sharing 7 steps for communicating during COVID-19 and an easy-to-follow flow chart for communication practices that meet the new CMS guidelines.

View COVID-19 communication resources


Q: As a facility, how do I know if there are drug supply concerns that will impact my patients?

A: Determining fact and fiction, related to drug supply issues can be very challenging during this Pandemic.  Be attentive to messaging of mainstream media channels because this is where your patients and families are receiving their information. This may not be entirely accurate for your particular area, so working with trusted clinical sources, such as your pharmacy partner is imperative. Your pharmacy partner should be able to give you up-to-date information related to their direct supply chain and any current challenges that are on the horizon. Consonus Pharmacy has proactively kept customers up-to-date on current supply chain status.

Read the latest Medication Supply Update


Q: How should we do our pro forma projections?

A: All senior care organizations are being affected by COVID-19, at varying degrees. The financial impact is tangible. It will be important to identify how your organization is being impacted so you can plan for cash flow projections. We created an example pro forma under three different facility scenarios and provided a blank worksheet copy so you can fill in your own financial projections.

View Financial Impact Analysis Worksheet


Do you have questions about COVID-19?

Email us at and we will answer commonly asked questions.

Check back next Friday for more FAQs. 



April 15, 2020

Laurie Schadegg Thomas, VP of Strategic Development for Consonus interviews Phil Fogg, Marquis/Consonus CEO and Vice Chair of American Healthcare Association about the current COVID-19 situation and where our industry is headed.

What COVID-19 information would be helpful to you? 

At Consonus, we are committed to providing updates on the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to keep staff and residents safe.

With Marquis Companies, a post-acute provider, as our parent, Consonus is able to share best practices.

At this point in the pandemic, our organization has gone through it all and we have resources we are willing to share but don’t want to be presumptive about what you need.

We’d like to hear from you! Send your questions to


April 7, 2020


“Our healthcare workers have been nothing short of heroes”.

Phil Fogg, CEO of Marquis Companies and Consonus Healthcare shares a new way you can support Healthcare Heroes who are working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the video!

To support #HealthcareHeroes, follow these steps:

1. Download your free #HealthcareHeroes printable here or purchase your own here
2. Find a place to proudly display the You Are Vital poster or sticker
3. Take a picture of yourself with it and post to social media



April 3, 2020

COVID-19 Mapping

The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) confirmed cases are changing rapidly. To stay up-to-date, we’ve created a report showing global cases, with the ability to dial into specific regions. The report was developed using publically available data compiled by Johns Hopkins University (all rights reserved) and is intended for educational and academic research purposes only. Use of the data for medical guidance or commerce is prohibited. View report by clicking the link below.

COVID -19 Dynamic Report