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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is suspending routine inspections to focus on issues related to infection control and COVID-19 in hospitals, nursing homes, and other accredited sites, a CMS official announced.
“[We are] suspending non-emergency surveys across the country so our surveyors can focus on the most serious health and safety threats like infectious disease,” said Daniel Schwartz, MD, MBA, chief medical officer, CMS. “Our colleagues in the accrediting agencies will follow this policy as well.”
Hospital, dialysis centers, and other facilities with a history of infection control deficiencies are still in line for surveys, he said.
In a March 4, 2020, memorandum, CMS said the action allows “inspectors to turn their focus on the most serious health and safety threats like infectious diseases and abuse.1 This shift in approach will also allow inspectors to focus on addressing the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”
According to CMS, effective immediately, surveys are limited to the following, which are listed in priority order:
If CMS inspectors identify or suspect COVID-19, they are to work with closely with CMS regional offices in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CMS has deployed an infection preventionist to the CDC in Atlanta to assist with guideline development.
Financial Disclosure: Peer Reviewer Patrick Joseph, MD, reports that he is a consultant for Genomic Health, Siemens, and CareDx. Senior Writer Gary Evans, Editor Jason Schneider, Editor Journey Roberts, Nurse Planner Patti Grant, RN, BSN, MS, CIC, and Editorial Group Manager Leslie Coplin report no consultant, stockholder, speaker’s bureau, research, or other financial relationships with companies having ties to this field of study.