APIC Continues Fight, Urging CMS to Upgrade ICP in Nursing Homes
1% of population, 35% COVID deaths
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) continues to vigorously argue that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) needs to significantly upgrade infection control in nursing homes.
“We reiterate our call for CMS to include at least one full-time dedicated infection preventionist (IP) in each LTC [long-term care] facility and collect and make publicly available data on the number of hours dedicated to infection prevention and control (IPC) by qualified personnel in each LTC facility,” APIC said in an Oct. 30, 2023, letter to CMS.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 million to 3 million serious infections occur every year in nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities, APIC emphasized.1 “Yet, even with this data, it took a worldwide pandemic and national public health emergency to demonstrate the tragedy of the routine IPC deficiencies in nursing homes,” APIC charged in the letter.
APIC cited a staggering finding that put things into grim perspective: While less than 1% of the population lives in long-term care, 35% of COVID-19 deaths occurred in these settings during the first year of the pandemic, a study found.2
APIC called into question the CMS nursing home survey process, noting that some facilities that passed infection control muster were later overrun with SARS-CoV-2.
“As noted in the [CMS] proposed rule, there is evidence of the correlation between staffing levels and quality of care in LTC facilities,” APIC stated. “However, the rule only addresses staffing for nursing staff and nurse aides. APIC believes adequate staffing for IPC is essential to address widespread deficiencies CMS surveyors have long identified in nursing homes. APIC would also point out that having a dedicated IP to focus on the non-direct care aspects of managing the facility’s IPC program would allow nursing staff to spend time on direct resident care.”
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nursing Homes and Assisted Living (Long-term Care Facilities [LTCFs]). Last reviewed June 22, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/longtermcare
- Quinn CC, Adams AS, Magaziner JS, Gurwitz JH. Coronavirus disease 2019 and clinical research in U.S. nursing homes. J Am Geriatr Soc 2021;69:1748-1751.
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology continues to vigorously argue that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services needs to significantly upgrade infection control in nursing homes.
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