Providers hope the federal government and states are willing to work with them, instead of punishing them, under a new $500 million infection control initiative aimed at helping facilities battle COVID-19 outbreaks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, announced the $500 million effort on Friday. It will send funding to states to deploy strike teams to nursing homes.
The strike teams will provide surge capacity to facilities for clinical services; address staffing shortages; and strengthen infection prevention and control activities to prevent, detect and contain outbreaks, including support for COVID-19 vaccine boosters. The funding will be sent to states starting in October.
“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,” said Amy Stewart, MSN, RN, vice president of education and certification strategy for the American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing, who applauded the administration’s efforts.
“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.
Stewart also told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Monday the association hopes the additional support will “alleviate some of the staffing burdens facing nursing homes today and in the future.”
“Frontline staff are weary from battling COVID for 18 months; The promise of fresh teams is both heartening and greatly needed to ensure the well-being of older adults,” Katie Smith Sloan, LeadingAge President and CEO, added in a statement.
“One important lesson from this crisis is that our healthcare system is interconnected,” she said. “This investment in infection prevention and control activities is a welcome acknowledgement of that interdependence across the public health and health care sectors, and the support needed to ensure safety and well-being.”
The CDC investment is part of an overall three-year, $2.1 billion investment to improve infection prevention and control activities across the U.S. public health and healthcare sectors. Improvements will span the healthcare continuum, including 6,000 hospitals, 15,400 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, 7,900 dialysis clinics, and 4,700 ambulatory surgery centers, and will extend to other outpatient settings, the CDC said.