CMS Administrator Seema Verma
CMS Administrator Seema Verma at a July press conference.

An infection control training program aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes is now available for frontline facility workers and managers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Tuesday morning. 

The program was originally announced in late July as part of an additional $5 billion in coronavirus relief funding for nursing homes. The Trump administration at the time noted that providers would become eligible for the enhanced funding by participating in the online infection control training program. 

“CMS is taking unprecedented action to ensure that nursing homes are doubling down on efforts to prevent the spread of the virus,” Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.

There are five training modules for staff members, and 10 modules for management.

The training for staff is titled “CMS Targeted COVID-19 Training for Frontline Nursing Home Staff” and will address some of the most common concerns recently found by surveyors and government “strike” teams concerning basic infection control and prevention practices.

The training program for management, called “CMS Targeted COVID-19 Training for Nursing Home Management,” targets infection control and cleanliness but also larger institution-wide issues such as implementation of telehealth, emergency preparedness and vaccine delivery.

CMS is also directing Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) to include the training in the action plans it develops in collaboration with each nursing home they assist. The agency said the move will help ensure that “nursing homes are building the training into their existing quality improvement efforts.”

The training program is available immediately to staff at each of the nation’s 15,400 Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes. 

Additionally, the agency, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reminded providers of its bi-weekly webinars from subject matter experts. The webinars are also aimed at helping nursing home providers prevent and manage COVID-19. The program starts Thursday and runs through Jan. 7, 2021.

This is a developing story. Please check back for further developments.