The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) is deeply concerned that the Biden Administration’s efforts to address overall nursing home staffing requirements, while a step in the right direction for direct patient care, fail to protect nursing home residents from infections. This is particularly problematic, given that at the height of the pandemic, more than one-third of COVID-19 deaths were linked to nursing homes.
As the Administration pointed out in their February 28, 2022 Fact Sheet “failure to comply with federal guidelines at nursing homes is widespread. The Government Accountability Office found that, from 2013 to 2017, 82% of all inspected nursing homes had an infection prevention and control deficiency, including a lack of regular handwashing, that was identified through Medicare and Medicaid surveys.”
Government reports have been calling out the lack of attention to infection prevention in nursing homes for years. APIC continues to urge Congress and the Administration to require that nursing homes have at least one, full-time infection preventionist on staff who is dedicated to the role (meaning that infection prevention is their sole function).
CMS’s omission of a minimum staffing requirement for infection preventionists in nursing homes maintains the status quo and puts residents and workers in harm’s way.