CMS announces nursing home infection control pilot project
In a new S&C letter, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it has received funding from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for a three year pilot program to improve the assessment of infection control and prevention regulations in nursing homes and hospitals, as well as during transitions of care. F-441 Infection Control is one of the most frequently cited deficiencies across the country most years when we review survey trends, so this comes as no surprise. As a matter of fact, it’s this year’s most highly cited deficiency in the country.
For this pilot, CMS will use a contractor to perform educational pilot surveys. No deficiencies will be issued during this pilot, but if an Immediate Jeopardy level citation is found, the CMS Regional Office will be notified. A pilot nursing home surveyor infection control worksheet (ICWS) and pilot survey process will begin in FY 2016 and will focus on LTC facility infection control requirements. These are based on the proposed regulations that CMS announced in 2015. New surveyor tools and processes will be created and tested that focus on the existing regulations but also take into account recommended practices for antibiotic stewardship and transitions of care, two areas that were in the proposed regulations. Ten pilot surveys will be conducted in nursing homes in FY2016, but the states have not yet been announced. The S&C letter further notes that to the extent “that such requirements are published in final form,” the Agency believes that the infection control focused surveys will assist nursing homes with preparation as well as assist with developing training materials for surveyors and nursing homes. The anticipated outcomes of these pilot surveys are new infection control tools and survey processes that will optimize how new infection control regulations are assessed. By FY2017, CMS anticipates that educational surveys will be conducted in nursing homes as well as hospitals and will be conducted in FY2018 as well.
Read December 23, 2015 CMS S&C letter “Infection Control Pilot Project” (Ref: S&C: 16-05-ALL).