CMS issues infection control guidance for providers struggling with COVID-19

The Trump administration issued a series of new guidance documents focusing on infection control, a major issue for providers treating patients with COVID-19.

The documents released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also focus on how to ensure infection control for alternative testing and treatment sites some hospitals have had to prop up to handle the outbreak. The agency also put out guidance on telehealth and drive-thru screening infection control.

“The guidance is designed to empower local hospitals and healthcare systems, helping them to rapidly expand their capacity to isolate and treat patients infected with COVID-19 from those who are not,” CMS said in a release Tuesday.

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The revised guidance also provides expanded recommendations for screening patients and staff, restricting visitation and how to discharge to other locations.

CMS has suspended routine surveys of healthcare facilities and instead are calling for a major focus on infection control procedures.

A major concern among providers is how to protect their staff from the virus. 

CMS also gave a timely update for dialysis facilities on how to provide dialysis at home and how to prop up Special Purpose Renal Dialysis Facilities that can enable facilities to isolate vulnerable or infected people with the virus.

“These temporary changes allow for the establishment of facilities to treat those patients who tested positive for COVID-19 to be treated in separate locations,” the agency said.

Dialysis facilities care for people who are likely immunocompromised and at high risk for COVID-19.