HAMDEN, Conn., March 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Simione Healthcare Consultants has released its fourth of seven updates in a series on the new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Conditions of Participation (CoPs) for Home Health. These regulations are scheduled to take effect July 13, 2017. One of the most significant changes in the new CoPs include new requirements for Infection Prevention and Control:
- Infection Control (Standard 484.70): The new infection prevention and control requirement focuses on the use of infection control practices and patient/caregiver education and teaching.
Even though home health providers may have some of the elements of a QAPI program or Infection Control program due to existing state-specific, federal regulations and accreditation standards, these new CoPs require a much more robust, data-driven program and oversight. Home health agencies must take steps now to ensure compliance with these important requirements by the implementation date.
Home health agencies must maintain and document an infection prevention and control program with the goal of prevention and control of infections and communicable diseases. It is important to note that all aspects of the Infection Prevention and Control CoP are current standards of practice – from teaching patients and caregivers about proper prevention practices and monitoring infection disease occurrences within a HHA's population to cooperating with other providers and federal/state/local regulatory agencies during disease outbreaks. This CoP contains specific standards related to Prevention, Control and Education that include:
The agency must follow accepted standards of practice, including the use of standard precautions, to prevent the transmission of infections and communicable diseases.
- Agencies are already required to meet federal regulations such as OSHA blood borne pathogens standard, CDC requirements, and state-specific and accreditation requirements (if applicable).
The agency must maintain a coordinated agency-wide program for surveillance, identification, prevention control and investigation of infectious and communicable diseases that is an integral part of the agency's QAPI program.
- The infection control program must include a method for identifying infectious and communicable disease problems, and plan for appropriate actions that are expected to result in improvement and disease prevention.
The agency must provide infection control education to staff (including contractors), patient and caregivers.
Simione recommends the following strategies and activities to implement a comprehensive Infection Prevention and Control program:
- Review current policies, reporting processes and protocols to determine areas needing further development in meeting these new requirements.
- Utilize evidence-based practice and existing regulations as a resource for development of the infection control program. Federal and state agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state departments of health, as well as accreditation organizations and national professional organizations such as the American Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC) have all developed infection prevention and control standards of practice, which can be used by home health agencies in creation of their programs.
- Note that CMS expects a home health agency to be able to identify the source of the standards it selects, and to explain why those standards were chosen for incorporation in the infection prevention and control program.
- Review client and caregiver education materials to ensure that they reflect current standards and that they are consistent with the scope of the agency's infection prevention and control program. The education, both in content and format, must meet the needs of the individual patient and caregivers based on their specific needs. This includes consideration of learning format (i.e. written, verbal, demonstration) and in a language the patients/caregivers can understand.
- Implement infection prevention and control documentation processes in a manner that suits the workflow of the agency, and successfully demonstrate upon survey that this requirement was met.
- Incorporate infection prevention and control monitoring into the agency's QAPI Program, including the development of PIPs as needed to address areas in need of improvement. The key to ensuring successful implementation of an infection control program is observation.
- Supervisory home visits are needed to observe practices such as proper handwashing, clean technique, wound care and bag technique.
- Clinical record audits are important for identification of patients who have experienced infections and determination of whether there was appropriate staff follow-up and intervention.
- Staff monitoring of infections is also important, especially in determining the possibility of cross-contamination between patients and staff.
Home health agencies will need to evaluate operations as a whole to determine the most efficient structure and processes necessary to meet all of the new CoPs, including these new QAPI and infection prevention and control requirements. To assist in this effort, Simione is available to conduct QAPI and infection prevention and control program assessments and provide recommendations for implementation of a comprehensive program, while demonstrating efficiency and effectiveness. Our expert consultants can assist with a CoPs readiness assessment, policy development, staff education and identification of resources and tools to streamline your program and optimize outcomes.
About Simione Healthcare Consultants
Founded in 1966, Simione Healthcare Consultants embodies a diverse group of business talent across the U.S. to provide accessible, cost-effective business solutions for the home health and hospice organizations. Key areas of expertise include operations, compliance and risk, finance, sales and marketing, cost reporting, information technology, and mergers and acquisitions. Simione supports performance improvement across the healthcare continuum, engaging agencies, hospitals, health networks for more effective delivery of home health and hospice care. More than 1,500 organizations use Simione's experts and tools to improve quality, reduce costs, and minimize risk to drive business performance. Contact us at 844-215-8820 or www.simione.com/contact
Contact: Linda Wiseman
SOURCE Simione Healthcare Consultants