CMS has finalized the SNF Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) Requiring Hospitalization measure in the Fiscal Year 2022 SNF PPS Final Rule. What should we be doing to prepare for this SNF QRP measure? 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services plans to first publicly report this information on Care Compare with the April 2022 refresh. Although facilities cannot now correct historical data, they can learn from it — and can develop a plan to improve future data. Consider this measure from two perspectives: prevention and treatment.

SNF residents are at higher risk for HAIs due to age, comorbidities and residing in a congregate setting. Preventing spread is the best way to lower HAIs. First, educate staff and residents on how to decrease infection spread. Hand hygiene, cough etiquette and vaccine availability all reduce infection rates. After training, audit infection prevention efforts to ensure staff and residents comply. Monitor infection rates in the community, and when transmission increases, redouble efforts to screen staff and visitors. 

Additionally, consider ways to improve infection treatment. If infections are caught early, local treatment may head off hospitalization. Review processes for identifying changes in condition. Also consider the acuity the facility can handle. Are intravenous medications available on-site? Can nurses insert IVs and start infusions? If not, plan to educate them. 

Lastly, review past infections through a facility assessment. Educate staff on commonly encountered infections. Emphasize how hand hygiene, environmental sanitization and disinfection practices affect infection rates. Infection prevention is a continuous process, so monitor trends and continue to strengthen prevention and treatment efforts in the facility.