Different surveys during COVID-19

CMS suspends standard surveys for home health and hospice providers, focuses on infection control instead

Home care and hospice providers will not undergo standard surveys during the COVID-19 public health crisis, but federal and state surveyors will conduct targeted infection control surveys to make certain providers are protecting the health and safety of patients and staff.

Surveys triggered by incident complaints will still occur -- but will be triaged at the immediate jeopardy level and a streamlined infection control review tool will be used for each of those surveys as well.

“Infection control is the top priority right now,” said J’non Griffin, owner and president of Home Health Solutions, a nationwide outsourcing and consulting firm for home health, hospice and long-term care.

“Agencies are reviewing their infection control programs and the infectious disease hazards and interventions outlined in their emergency preparedness plans to take all necessary precautions to protect patients and staff during this pandemic.”

CMS has made available the assessment tool surveyors will be using so that providers can use it for self-assessment as they shore up their agency infection control practices.

“It is not specific to home health or hospice, but has been designed to serve non-long term care providers,” J’non said.

The tool is included in a CMS memo to state survey agency directors which can be accessed here.