CMS Revises Guidance on COVID-19 Survey Tool, Visitation Restrictions

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued revised guidance on the COVID-19 focused infection control (FIC) survey tool. The guidance now states that there is no longer a need to continue the required use of the special FIC survey tool on a national basis in acute and continuing care providers (ambulatory surgical centers, hospitals, end-stage renal disease facilities, home health agencies, and hospices) since facilities have incorporated COVID-19 management strategies into their infrastructure and operations. Surveyors will continue to evaluate infection prevention and control elements related to COVID-19 through the existing survey process, while incorporating lessons learned about infection control oversight during the public health emergency. State survey agencies and accrediting organizations may continue to use the targeted FIC survey, on a case-by-case basis, if warranted.  

In the revised guidance, CMS also states that continued federal guidance for visitation restrictions for acute and continuing care facilities are no longer necessary, but notes that there may be more prescriptive state or local requirements that facilities must follow (see the article above for an update on state requirements for visitors to general acute care hospitals and SNFs).