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CMS has begun a 3-year pilot project to improve infection control assessment in nursing homes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun a three-year pilot project to improve assessment of infection control and prevention regulations in nursing homes, hospitals, and during transitions of care.

All surveys during the pilot will be educational surveys (no citations will be issued) and will be conducted by a national contractor. New surveyor tools and processes will be developed and tested, focusing on existing regulations as well as recommended practices (such as those for antibiotic stewardship and transitions of care). Ten pilot surveys to be conducted in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 will occur in nursing homes.

Surveys in FY17 and FY18 will be conducted in nursing homes and new surveyor infection control tools and survey processes that can be used to optimize assessment of new infection control regulations.

With funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CMS has begun a pilot project to meet identified joint priorities related to assessing the continuum of infection prevention efforts between hospitals and nursing homes in order to prevent transmission of infections in both settings. The recent U.S. experience with Ebola highlighted the critical importance of infection prevention programs in protecting both healthcare personnel and patients. Translating lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak, including the importance of core infection prevention practices, to every setting where individuals receive healthcare is a significant opportunity to increase the safety of U.S. healthcare facilities.

CMS will use a national contractor to perform educational pilot surveys. While no citations will be issued, if an Immediate Jeopardy deficiency is noted, a referral to the CMS Regional Office will be made. The surveys will provide nursing homes and hospitals with guidance on improving infection prevention within their catchment area. Starting in FY16, a pilot nursing home surveyor infection control worksheet (ICWS) and pilot survey process, in collaboration with CDC, will better assess compliance with long term care facility infection control requirements that CMS published in 2015 in a Notice of Proposed Rule-Making.

Any questions should be sent to Dr. Daniel Schwartz at daniel.schwartz2@cms.hhs.gov. The effective date is immediate. This information should be communicated to all survey and certification staff, their managers and the State/Regional Office training coordinators within 30 days of this memorandum.