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Is your skilled nursing facility ready for a CMS infection control inspection?

To make sure skilled nursing facilities are doing all they can to stop the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it would be stepping up inspections.1 Additionally, inspections will focus in particular on infection control protocols. How prepared is your skilled nursing facility for a CMS infection control inspection?


Evaluate the likelihood of an inspection

While it is always important to be prepared for an inspection, some skilled nursing facilities are likely to face increased scrutiny due to their inspection or violation histories. Facilities likely to be evaluated include those that have or require:


  • Complaints expressing infection control concerns
  • Immediate jeopardy complaints
  • Allegations of abuse or neglect
  • Recorded infection control deficiencies at the immediate jeopardy level in the last three years
  • Histories of lower-level infection control deficiencies
  • A statutorily required recertification inspection
  • Necessary revisits to resolve previous inspection issues
  • Initial certifications

Preparing for a CMS infection control inspection

To ensure that your facility is prepared for a CMS infection control inspection, first and foremost, you should review your infection control protocol and verify that all measures are being followed by your staff. You also should be reviewing your facility’s data to ensure you are meeting government requirements.


What to check

  • Recent respiratory infections where the exact cause of the infection was not identified
  • Respiratory symptoms reported for infections that both met and did not meet McGeer criteria
  • QAPI initiatives implemented to prevent outbreaks
  • Transmission-based precautions implemented, including type and length in previous respiratory infections and their effectiveness of controlling infection spread through your facility
  • Staff and visitor infections

Help in following CMS infection control protocol

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold in the United States, skilled nursing facilities are dedicated to following infection prevention protocol and instituting additional infection control measures. Keeping track of the data and performance control measures necessary to monitor potential infections and meet CMS guidelines can be a challenge. ABILITY INFECTIONWATCH can help you track infections and CMS data to protect residents and stay compliant. Contact us to find out how!


1. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS Announces Actions to Address Spread of Coronavirus. Newsroom. Accessed March 30, 2020.

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About the author

Laurie Laxton, R.N., B.S.N., C.M.A.S., C.C.F.A., R.A.C.-C.T., I.P.-B.C., Q.C.P., Principal Clinical Trainer