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CMS issues new COVID-19 reporting requirements for SNFs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has declared skilled nursing facilities “ground zero” in the country’s COVID-19 outbreak. In an attempt to monitor and control the spread of the virus within SNFs, CMS this week released new reporting requirements for COVID-19 infections.

The new infection reporting protocol are based, in part, on recommendations from the American Health Care Association and Leading Age. The two industry groups had called on skilled nursing facilities to report COVID-19 infections in a more timely manner.

Under the guidelines, SNFs must:

• Inform residents, as well as their families and representatives, of any positive COVID-19 cases within the facility within 12 hours

• Inform residents, as well as their families and representatives, of any instances of 3 or more respiratory illnesses within the facility within 72 hours

• Update residents, as well as their families and representatives, of COVID-19 infections and mitigation efforts weekly

• Report cases of COVID-19 directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

• Continue to meet requirements to report infectious diseases to state and local health departments

• Fully cooperate with all CDC efforts to monitor the spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 reporting tools

To assist skilled nursing facilities with meeting the new requirements, the CDC will provide SNFs with a reporting tool. According to CMS, the reporting tool will be an important component in collecting national COVID-19 data to monitor the spread of the virus and coordinate infection response. Any COVID-19 data collected through the new reporting program will be made publicly available by CMS.

“Nursing homes have been ground zero for COVID-19. [This] action supports CMS’ longstanding commitment to providing transparent and timely information to residents and their families,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Nursing home reporting to the CDC is a critical component of the go-forward national COVID-19 surveillance system and to efforts to reopen America.”

Improving your infection control program

Skilled nursing facilities can get additional help in monitoring COVID-19 symptoms and control efforts with ABILITY INFECTIONWATCH. This helpful application allows SNFs to enhance their infection control programs while adhering to all CMS requirements. Learn more about how ABILITY INFECTIONWATCH can help your facility monitor COVID-19 prevention efforts.

 

Source: “Trump Administration Announces New Nursing Homes COVID-19 Transparency Effort.” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. April 19, 2020. https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-announces-new-nursing-homes-covid-19-transparency-effort

ABILITY and design®, ABILITY® and ABILITY INFECTIONWATCH® are trademarks of ABILITY Network, Inc.

Tracking COVID-19 symptoms in your skilled nursing facility

The sooner you identify a case of COVID-19 in your skilled nursing facility, the sooner you can act to stop the spread of the disease among staff and residents.

Tracking the right data in your skilled nursing facility can help you identify the signs of a COVID-19 infection early. It also can help you take the best steps to prevent the spread of the disease. Find out which data you should be tracking and which data you should be reviewing to identify possible risks in your facility.

Data to track amid the COVID-19 pandemic

In the case that COVID-19 does strike your nursing home, data could provide insight into who could have been infected, how the disease spread and how effective the preventative measures you took to stop the disease were in preventing an outbreak.

Information you should be recording and reviewing as part of your COVID-19 SNF infection prevention efforts include:

  • Recent upper respiratory infections that didn’t have a clear or diagnosed cause
  • Respiratory symptoms reported for infections that both met and did not meet McGeer criteria
  • Infections reported by staff or visitors to your skilled nursing facility
  • Measures you have been taking to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in your facility
  • Specific infection control measures taken when a resident, staff or visitor shows symptoms that could turn out to be a case of COVID-19

Reviewing data to help stop the spread of COVID-19

In addition to tracking new data, reviewing your existing data can help you identify and address COVID-19 in your skilled nursing facility. Knowing any patients who recently showed signs of respiratory infection can help you identify residents or staff who may have been affected by disease but only experienced minor symptoms. If you have a positive COVID-19 test in your facility, understanding everyone who was affected can help you discover how the disease has spread.

Your facility also can benefit from taking a look at data from previous infection outbreaks. What was the last outbreak that struck your facility? Reviewing how many patients were affected, how the disease spread and the effectiveness of the measures you took to stop the outbreak can give you insight into how COVID-19 could spread in your facility and the steps you could take to prevent it.

Tracking data to aid with SNF infection prevention

Data is a valuable tool when dealing with infection control in your skilled nursing facility. It can help you identify an outbreak early, and it can provide insight on the effectiveness of your infection control program. Find out how ABILITY INFECTIONWATCH can help your nursing staff manage infection control data to keep your residence safe. Talk to an expert now!

 

ABILITY and design®, ABILITY® and ABILITIY INFECTIONWATCH® are trademarks of ABILITY Network, Inc.