Inspector works with nursing home administrator
Credit: Luis Alvarez/Getty Images Plus

Federal health leaders and long-term care stakeholders are hopeful that a new $500 million nursing home strike team program will be a collaborative partnership between providers and inspectors that reduces the spread of infections at facilities. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Hartford Foundation detailed the $500 million initiative during a panel discussion Tuesday with federal and state health department officials and long-term care providers.

The initiative was first announced in late September. It will send strike teams to nursing homes to help with infection control and prevention efforts, and address staffing shortages.

Panel members emphasized that strike teams work well when long-term care providers are part of the group, and that they must include experts familiar with the environment. Those that don’t understand long-term care are “less effective,” LeadingAge added. 

“Partnerships that are formed should meet and communicate on an ongoing basis, not just when there is an outbreak,” the panel said, adding that teams work well when surveyors listen to the concerns and challenges and respond in a helpful, non-punitive way. 

The comments come as a relief to industry advocates who had hoped when the initiative was first announced that the federal government and states would be willing to work with providers, instead of punishing them, in the effort. 

“Nursing home providers need more collaborative opportunities and fewer punitive ones, and we hope that will be the case as this plan is rolled out,” explained Amy Stewart, MSN, RN, vice president of education and certification strategy for the American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing. 

“We ask that these strike teams work with facilities to help them create innovative strategies to improve current infection prevention and control efforts,” she added.