The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued three new Quality, Safety and Oversight memos regarding COVID-19 - two apply to nursing homes and a third to hospitals. We strongly encourage you to review the following memos.
Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in nursing homes
This first memo (QSO 20-14-NH) provides NEW and helpful guidance on:
- Screening visitors and who should be restricted;
- Screening employees and contractors and who should be asked to stay at home;
- When patients should be managed in the facility vs sent to the hospital;
- What to do when transferring residents with suspected COVID-19, and;
- What criteria to use in accepting patients from the hospital with COVID-19
Suspension of Survey Activities
The second memo (QSO 20-12-ALL) announces that CMS will re-prioritize surveys to conduct focus surveys about infection control for facilities that have had an infection control deficiency in the past to assure that they are in compliance with the new regulations. Specifically:
- Surveys of facilities/hospitals that have a history of infection control deficiencies at the immediate jeopardy level in the last three years, and;
- Surveys of facilities/hospitals/dialysis centers that have a history of infection control deficiencies at lower levels than immediate jeopardy.
The Agency also provided a copy of the critical elements pathway in QSO-20-12-ALL that will be used by the surveyors to assess compliance with current regulations. We encourage you to review and use these guidelines in your facility as a self-assessment tool.
We encourage all members to review closely the State Operating Manual's guidance for F-880 related to infection control and take steps to assure consistent hand washing (or use alcohol based hand rubs) and contact precautions for residents with respiratory infections.
The third memo (QSO 20-13-Hospitals) outlines guidance to hospitals on screening visitors, employees and when to admit and discharge residents.
We strongly recommend facilities review this new guidance and also continue to keep up to date with CDC guidance on COVID-19 at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html for health professionals and facilities as they continue to update guidance on testing and management of residents with suspected and COVID-19 positive test results.