CMS Rule: Infection Preventionists Key to Reporting Success – Part 3

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog
Russell N. Olmsted, MPH, CIC
Russell N. Olmsted, MPH, CIC

Guest Author – Russell N. Olmsted, MPH, CIC
President-Elect, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)
Epidemiologist in Infection Prevention & Control Services, St. Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS)

The new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid rule is consistent with APIC’s position that better transparency will lead to better health outcomes, and that is good for patients. The use of CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network ensures more valid and reproducible outcome data as compared with sole reliance on administrative data. Using Hospital Compare will give consumers everywhere easier access to more reliable data about their healthcare facilities.

Inside healthcare facilities, infection preventionists will play a critical role in meeting the requirements of this new change. APIC is a strong supporter of NHSN; we believe it is the best currently available method to establish a meaningful national HAI reporting system because it relies on epidemiologically sound, surveillance data. And now CMS will use those same data for payment purposes.

Infection preventionists are going to need strong support from clinical and administrative leaders to comply with the new rule. The new reporting requirement reinforces the need for adequately resourced infection prevention departments within our healthcare facilities. Adequately resourced departments include a sufficient number of trained staff. This will become increasingly important as surgical site infection (SSI) rate data is added to this change by CMS in 2012. APIC will know more about the implications of adding this once more details are made available by CMS. Infection preventionists also need automated surveillance technology to facilitate more efficient sharing of data with NHSN and the public.

At APIC’s recent Annual Conference, we launched a new initiative with patient safety advocate Dr. Peter Pronovost called “I believe in Zero CLABSIs” in which we call upon APIC members to collaborate with direct care providers to increase use of evidence-based measures to prevent these infections, which claim the lives of 30,000 U.S. patients each year. Outcome data is helpful, but this collaboration between infection preventionists and direct care providers is the most effective method to prevent HAIs. APIC is encouraged that CMS is accelerating the trend toward transparency that will encourage hospitals to implement measures to reduce HAIs. This is a major step forward in improving the quality of patient care.

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog

2 comments on “CMS Rule: Infection Preventionists Key to Reporting Success – Part 3”

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    Although I think the spirit of mandatory reporting is in the right place, I have reservations about the actual application. Requiring reporting of infections takes time away from what IP’s should ideally be doing – preventing infections. Differences in education and experience among IP’s, as well as inconsistencies in how the definitions are applied, prevent the reported numbers from being fairly compared. The general public is unaware of these issues with reporting, and therefore will not be able to make truly informed decisions.

    This was a great ruling by CMS and a long time in coming. It will do alot to make hospitals across the country safer to be in if you need to be in one. And it will facilitate cooperation between front line treating doctors and those responsible for eliminating HAIs in the hospitals. This is great. But there is also an important role for health information technology to pay in helping monitor the type and number of HAIs, helping determine treatments for them, helping with reporting. Use of health information technology in HAI treatment would be very important to speeding up patient recovery because the electronic medical record would show every doctor treating the patient and all the medications prescribed in an easy to access and read format. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

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Page last reviewed: March 26, 2019
Page last updated: March 26, 2019