CMS inspections to prioritize infection control amid coronavirus outbreak

CMS on March 4 instructed state agencies and accrediting organizations to almost exclusively focus on infection control compliance during hospital and nursing home inspections to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Until further notice, these stakeholders will prioritize infection control issues and other serious safety threats — such as abuse allegations or immediate jeopardy complaints —during inspections, CMS said.

As such, the agency is asking all healthcare organizations nationwide to immediately review their infection control procedures and ensure compliance with all federal guidelines.

CMS also issued two memoranda answering frequently asked questions about COVID-19, including how to screen for the illness and how to transfer a coronavirus patient from a nursing home to the hospital.

The agency deployed an infection prevention specialist to the CDC's headquarters in Atlanta to help develop coronavirus-related guidance in real time.

As of March 4 at 4:20 p.m., more than 150 Americans have contracted COVID-19, and 11 have died.

More articles on infection control:
Infectious disease specialists improve 5-year outcomes for staph patients
Repeated antibiotic use tied to higher hospitalization risk
How health systems can measure the effects of hospital-acquired infections and unactionable alarms 

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