Skilled Nursing Facility

SNFs face tougher survey guidelines amid COVID-19 spread

An updated survey tool will be released for SNF surveyors that places stricter focus on infection control policies. Plans for the updated tool, based on information gathered from the COVID-19 outbreak at Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, was announced by the federal government on March 23.

The CDC determined that in under three weeks from the first infected resident showing COVID-19 symptoms at the Life Care Center, more than a quarter of the facility’s residents had died. The rapid spread of the disease throughout the facility can be blamed on staff coming into work while sick, and staff working at several facilities, according to the CDC. After an investigation of the facility, CMS administrator Seema Verma announced that an immediate jeopardy citation was issued.

As of March 23, the CDC has identified 146 facilities in 27 states with confirmed COVID-19 cases. CMS aims to reduce the spread of the virus with stricter survey guidelines, and use of a new facility self-assessment tool.