Surveyors to Enforce CDC Guidance for the 2019 Coronavirus
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Posted by: Kyle Simon
Courtesy of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC)
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a letter to surveyors that addresses infection control adherence for health care facilities related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), and reminds surveyors that providers must consider emerging infectious diseases in their emergency preparedness plans.
The letter includes interim guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for health care facility infection control procedures related to the 2019 nCoV. The CDC is currently advising adherence to Standard, Contact, and Airborne Precautions, including the use of eye protection. Health care staff should also adhere to CDC recommendations on standard hand hygiene practices, using alcohol-based hand rub/hand sanitizer as the preferred method of hand hygiene in most clinical situations. If hands are visibly soiled, wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Health care facilities should ensure that hand hygiene supplies are readily available.
CDC has also developed interim guidance for staff at local and state health departments, infection prevention and control professionals, health care providers, and health care workers who are coordinating the home care and isolation of people who are confirmed to have, or being evaluated for 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection.
Further, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidance on ways that patient information may be shared so that the protections of the HIPAA Privacy Rule are not set aside during an emergency.
On February 9, director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reiterated his “call for calm” in the face of the virus, but also noted “some concerning instances of onward #2019nCoV spread from people with no travel history to China. The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries; in short, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.”