CMS launches 3-year pilot project to improve infection control assessment for hospitals

CMS and the CDC have begun a three-year pilot project that will use data from educational pilot surveys conducted in nursing homes and hospitals to evaluate the efficacy of current infection control assessment efforts.

Ten educational pilot surveys will be conducted in nursing homes in 2016, with surveys for hospitals following in 2017 and 2018. These surveys will help form the basis of new surveyor tools and processes focusing on best practices regarding transitions of care and antibiotic stewardship, among other things.

A Dec. 23 CMS news release highlights the response of U.S. healthcare stakeholders to the recent Ebola outbreak and the expanding role of nursing homes in healthcare delivery as two primary drivers for the need to thoroughly assess infection prevention practices across care settings.

"Assessments in these educational, pilot surveys will allow for further review of infection prevention practices by the healthcare facilities, as well as examination of infection prevention during transitions of care," Thomas E. Hamilton, director of CMS' Survey and Certification Group, wrote in the release. "In addition, where the risk of non-compliance is documented, technical expertise to improve performance can be deployed. Sustainable improvements can then be measured using the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network data."

The surveys will be performed by a national contractor and while no citations will be issued to healthcare organizations, the surveyors will issue an "Immediate Jeopardy" deficiency notice to the CMS Regional Office if one occurs.

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