The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) added three nursing home-related items to its Work Plan in May, and now it has added additional items for June. The May items were related to Infection Control and oversight in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as prevalence of psychotropic drug use. The two new items are as follows:
- Meeting the Challenges Presented by COVID-19: Nursing Homes – This will be a 2-part national study that looks at how nursing homes were impacted by COVID-19. The first part will identify and describe the characteristics of facilities that had the highest numbers of COVID+ residents or residents who died from COVID-19. The second part of the study will describe the strategies that facilities put into place to mitigate COVID-19 in their facilities. This report is expected in FY 2021.
- Audit of Nursing Homes’ Reporting of COVID-19 Information Under CMS’s New Requirements – As the title implies, OIG will conduct an assessment of how nursing homes are reporting COVID-19 data to the CDC National Health Safety Network (CDC NHSN), including the completeness, accuracy and reliability of the data. This report is also expected in FY 2021.
These reports continue to signal that there will be enhanced scrutiny of nursing homes, particularly around Infection Prevention & Control, for the near term. With more states and communities moving through the reopening phases relatively quickly, it is essential to ensure you have strong protocols in place in this area so that when it is time for your building to open, your staff, residents, their representatives/families (as well as the regulators) feel comfortable with the “new” normal in a post-pandemic operating state.