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Top 5 Ways CMS Standards Will Change

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The second wave of COVID-19 is inevitably upon us again. Earlier this year, there were many different theories stating the original response would be adequate. So many hospitals are already responding to increases of the outbreak and wondering what the future holds regarding accreditation standards.

Approaches to the outbreak have been diverse and as a result, tactics will be observed and evaluated by CMS and accrediting agencies. Once responses are evaluated and then determined which approaches are most effective, changes will be made to standards to help guide the healthcare field in future responses.

It is possible we will start seeing changes as early as November and December of this year, but definitely in the first part of 2021. This increased focus on pandemic response is expected for the next few years with compounding data. Standards will be evolving for some time. Having been a Joint Commission surveyor and in the healthcare industry for 17 years while working with pandemics like Zika, SARS, Ebola, and H1N1, I have come up with my top 5 most likely changes to the standards. My hope is that this list can give your facility a bit of a jump on what may be coming with regards to standards in the next few months.

Top 5 Possible Changes to CMS and Accrediting Agency Standards:

  1. Hospital Incident Command System training will become a focus. Standards will drill down further to ensure front line staff have been trained to a level that operates with limited staff.
  2. Standards specific to the supply chain will be implemented to ensure supplies and equipment par levels are increased. Focus on Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) will be more scrutinized.
  3. States’ par levels will become an important topic of discussion within the healthcare field. In many cases, facilities were told not to worry about the state strategic stockpile for many years because they had plenty of equipment. That was not the case. Specific data will need to be reported now in relation to states’ capabilities to ensure their organization is at the par levels needed.
  4. Infection control measures and standards will increase especially in the areas of airflow and balance, which require engineering and infection control to work together on a more consistent basis regarding testing and maintenance.
  5. Security will be an area of focus to ensure processes are followed and put into place correctly. Your response will also be matched toward infection rates that were reported to your public health agency. This will create a geographical report of the area that identifies who most minimized access to the facility.

I encourage you to manage the information above now and detail it in your minutes. This will not only immediately help you if your due for your survey, but it will also keep you from scrambling at the last minute if a directive is suddenly sent out from CMS or your accrediting agency. Feel free to ask me any compliance-related questions through my free online Life Safety Q&A. Soleran is here to help you not only survive your next survey, but thrive.

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