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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Joint Commission Resources creates CMS consulting arm

Hospitals and long term care organizations can now receive assistance from former state or federal surveyors with experience evaluating the requirements of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) through a new CMS consulting program offered by Joint Commission Resources, the JCR recently announced.

In order for health care organizations to participate in CMS Medicare and Medicaid programs, they must comply with the federal conditions of participation. The JCR consulting service was created “in response to requests for assistance from several organizations that were struggling to comply with the requirements of the Medicare program, including some that had been notified by their state or CMS that they were not compliant with all Medicare conditions of participation and, therefore, would be receiving an unannounced visit from CMS or state agency surveyors on behalf of CMS,” according to a JCR press release. “JCR’s CMS Practice includes eight additional consultants, all of whom have extensive state or federal experience as surveyors. The CMS Practice suite includes consulting, custom education, and webinars; and CMS Access, an online tool that includes CMS forms, checklists and daily news alerts from CMS and other government agencies.”

As previously reported in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention, the CMS is finalizing three surveys for inspections that may begin later this year, with separate assessment tools on infection prevention, quality improvement and discharge planning. The original plan was to conduct the three surveys — which are all in a “pilot” testing phase — during separate inspections, but the CMS is now planning to do all the surveys in one visit as part of its patient safety mission in the Partnership for Patients program.

The CMS pilot infection control survey has generally received favorable reviews for its design and attention to detail by infection perfectionists. Indeed, some see the survey program as a potential game-changer for infection prevention, particularly if CMS strengthens its ties to conditions of participation and ultimately links survey results directly to reimbursements.

Editor’s note: AHC Media and the editors of Hospital Infection Control & Prevention and Hospital Employee Health have created a compliance manual for the CMS infection control survey, A Skeleton Key to CMS Success: Your Essential Guide to the 2013 CMS Hospital Infection Control Survey