CMS to ‘Immediately’ Refocus Nursing Home Inspections on Infection Control Amid Coronavirus
After the outbreak of coronavirus in the Washington nursing home, CMS will focus on the inspection of skilled nursing facilities with the compliance of the agency’s policy for infection control. They will suspend all non-emergency surveys, as announced by the agency on Wednesday.
The administrator of CMS, Seema Verma stated during a conference call with the reporters that they will be looking at a variety of different things when they would go and do the inspection.
She further said that they will suspend all of that and focus on everyone who will be on infection control. Moreover, they are prioritizing those who have been impacted by the coronavirus. But their start-up focus will be nursing homes and hospitals, where there would be any sort of situation or in widespread areas where the communities are affected. All of this will be starting immediately she added.
There are currently 8,200 surveyors for fifteen thousand nursing homes in the United States. The prioritized areas will be the ones where the risk of the virus spreading is the highest. Verma also emphasized that areas with previous histories will also be under focus.
Further updates that were provided by Verma about the facility’s infection control was that several deficiencies were cited last year in April, which also included the deficiencies of infection control. Some of the cites area included non-sterile storage areas of the respiratory supplies and the laundry room’s ventilation system was not functioning either.
Hence, the facility was penalized with $67,000 in that month. Although they were cleared eventually based on an unannounced inspection in June 2019.
The fact that CMS will be focusing inspections on infection control does not mean that other areas of SNF inspection will be bypassed, however.
The following levels of priorities will be taken into consideration according to memorandum from CMS
- All the immediate complains of jeopardy and abuse neglect allegation
- All the complains of infection control concern, which will include COVID-19 potential facilities
- Surveys for recertification will be required by the statute
- Enforcement actions needed to be resolved for revisits
- Certifications initially
- Hospitals and facilities that have had a history will be surveyed under immediate jeopardy
The memo also consisted of the protocols for inspection processes in the suspected or diagnosed COVID-19 cases. It also included working with the officials of CMS regional offices and coordinating with the Center of Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies that are relevant. Guidance on the usage of personal protective equipment will also be provided.
Infection control RoPs
in July 2019, some proposed changes were issued to the Requirements of Participation by CMS. Delaying the third and final phase of the major compliance updates specifically.
One portion included the training and the designation of the infection preventionists. However, the need was unchanged for that position and the individual did not have to work part time anymore. They were supposed to be in contact with the control staff, Dee McCarthy, chief clinical officer at the Glendale, Wis.-based North Shore Healthcare. This was quoted by SNN