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Amid ongoing confusion over mandated reporting of flu vaccinations among nursing home staff, federal health officials have agreed to streamline the process.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services added flu vaccine reporting to its Quality Reporting Program. There is no requirement that staff be vaccinated against the flu, which has been particularly dangerous this year, just that facilities submit data regarding the number who are vaccinated.

Under the measure, which covers the flu season ranging from Oct. 1 to March 31, providers must report vaccinations at least once by May 15, 2023. They can break the reporting up and submit flu-shot data monthly or at another frequency.

The confusion, LeadingAge Director of Nursing Home Quality & Policy Jodi Eyigor explained last month, comes when providers try to figure out exactly how and where they should submit the data.

The Center for Disease Control’s National Healthcare Safety Network currently allows providers to submit flu vaccine data in two places, but only one will feed that information correctly into the Quality Reporting Program.

If reported under the LTC facility module, the same place where COVID vaccinations and other data are reported, “it will not count for your QRP measure,” Eyigor explained during a late December call with members.

Instead, providers should report those vaccinations through the NHSN Healthcare Personnel Safety Component.

In addition, the CDC will soon make an update that will eliminate the extra reporting area.

“We’ve been talking about this now for a few months, but because the issue is ongoing, NHSN has said, ‘Hey, wait a second, we’re going to solve this problem,’” Eyigor noted.

Later in January, NHSN will eliminate the ability to post flu vaccination information in the portal typically used for COVID reporting,  Eyigor added. 

“That’s good news,” she said. “That’s going to help us out a lot.”

The Influenza Vaccination Coverage among Healthcare Personnel measure was added to the Quality Reporting Program as part of the FY 2023 SNF PPS Final Rule. Information submitted will be used to calculate a summary score for all facilities, which CMS has said will “allow for real-time review of data submission.”

Agency officials have said they believe the new flu vaccine QRP measure has the “potential to increase influenza vaccine coverage” in facilities given that coverage is typically lower in long-term care settings when compared to other healthcare sectors.

An October CDC study found that flu vaccination coverage among long-term care and home health staff was around 66%, which was the lowest among all types of healthcare personnel.

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