New Reporting and Surveillance Requirements
On April 19, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a QSO memorandum (QSO-20-26-NH) notifying nursing homes of new reporting and surveillance requirements in response to the (COVID-19) pandemic. Subsequent notices outlined the types of information required for surveillance reporting to the CDC via the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) as well as requirements for notification of residents, their representatives and families when newly identified cases occur amongst residents or staff within 72 hours of each other.
Weekly Nursing Home Compare Submissions
CMS began publicly reporting data compiled from weekly submissions through Nursing Home Compare (NHC) to provide transparency and communication to the public.
Ensuring weekly submission of data is vital in avoiding remedies that may be issued from CMS in the form of a citation as well as Civil Money Penalties (CMP’s) for failure to comply with the regulation. The COVID-19 NHSN Weekly Data Survey tool, developed by Team TSI, now part of SHP, allows facilities and organizations to view their prepared data and determine at a glance if they may be at risk for failure to prepare the essential data within the required time frame for submission.
The tool was also developed to ensure that all required questions are answered prior to exporting to a simple CSV file which can then be uploaded to the NHSN site. The added benefit of being able to quickly access historical data for a facility or organization also allows for painless review of reported information. If errors are noted in the NHSN weekly data release that need to be corrected, the file can be edited quickly and easily to resubmit the data.
Analyze and Compare Weekly and Overall Data
Additional opportunity to review the weekly data released on Nursing Home Compare is provided through the COVID-19 NHSN Report. This insightful report allows a facility or organization to view weekly and overall data as it compares to national performance, as well as state and county performance at the facility level. The ability to compare performance to national, state and county reported data allows a facility or organization to make informed decisions regarding safe re-opening plans. With a snapshot view of pertinent information, facilities and organizations can make quick decisions on where to devote resources in regards to both staffing and supplies.
These two reporting and surveillance tools also give facilities and organizations visibility into where new cases or clusters of cases are being identified within their organization. They can then determine if the facility is at risk of receiving a focused infection control survey and ensure notification to residents, their representatives and families in accordance with regulatory requirement.
As we continue to feel the impact of COVID-19, SHP will continue to monitor and evaluate changes to the health care industry in order to provide timely and relevant resources to help facilities continue to operate safely and effectively.
Greg Seiple, RN is the VP of Clinical Informatics at SHP with over 25 years’ experience in Clinical Services and Operations on the Skilled Nursing side having served at a Vice President or Senior Vice President of Clinical Services for several long term care companies during his career. Greg is also an adjunct instructor for Penn States Nursing Home Administrators course taught at the main campus in State College, PA.