CMS says mandating vaccines key to improvement, praises providers

Share this article:

The federal government's decision to mandate flu and pneumonia vaccinations for nursing home residents is a critical element in the quality improvement movement, according to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

CMS announced Friday that nursing homes will have to vaccinate their residents beginning this fall if they want to continue to receive Medicare or Medicaid funding. Residents can refuse vaccinations under the proposal.
 
"Improving immunization is a key element of our quality improvement strategy -- a strategy that is focused on preventing illnesses and complications in the first place," said CMS Administrator Mark McClellan. "The outstanding commitment of the nursing home industry, caregivers and other stakeholders makes clear that his commitment to better quality through more effective immunization is shared and achievable."
 
Federal health officials said they consulted with representatives of  the American Health Care Association , the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before making the decision to mandate vaccinations.
 
The goal is to reach a 90% vaccination level for nursing home residents. One federal study showed that in 1999, vaccination rates were just 65% for flu and 38% for pneumonia. The new rule also will encourage -- but not mandate  more healthcare workers to become vaccinated. A study showed that last year, just 36% of the nursing home workforce was vaccinated.
 
In January, CMS raised Medicare payments for vaccinations from $8 to $18 above the cost of the vaccine.
 
The proposed rule can be seen online at http://www.archives.gov/federal-register
Share this article:

More in News

Involving nursing assistants with decisions may result in higher quality, study finds

Empowering nursing assistants and family members of nursing home residents in decision-making results improved service, a new study finds.

Also in the news for July 28, 2014 . . .

Nursing home aide accused of choking a resident....Monitoring pulse after stroke may prevent another stroke...Slow walking speed may predict dementia

Site-neutral payments likely to move forward, experts believe

Site-neutral payments likely to move forward, experts believe

As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission evaluate site-neutral payments, a new brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explores ...