In a few short weeks the coronavirus has gone from a theoretical risk in the US to an actual concern. The impacts already include your 401K as well as some US hospitals. And soon, it may impact your hospital. With the transmission accelerating, take these steps to prepare your hospital for coronavirus.
Prepare Your Hospital For Coronavirus
For example, the CMS and CDC post frequent updates to help prepare your hospital for coronavirus. The information from each source will help guide your assessment.
CMS Coronavirus Update
CMS posted three memos on the coronavirus that we advise you to read.
- QSO 20-12 – describes the CMS survey focus on infection control and some limitations on routine surveys
- QSO 20-13 – provides advice to hospitals on managing patients with confirmed or suspected virus
- QSO 20-14 – is like QSO-13 but an advisory memo to the nursing home industry.
The hospital memo, QSO 20-13, provides guidance on screening visitors, staff and patients. In addition, it details the supplies that should be available to prevent transmission of any infectious organism. Further, there is valuable information on how to compliantly restrict visitation rights for infectious patients. What’s more, this includes implications for Medicare discharge planning regulations when preparing to discharge a patient who was infected with COVID-19.
QSO 12-14 contains information for the nursing home industry. But, you may want to share and analyze this memo with your infection prevention and discharge planning teams. It provides information about what a nursing home may or may not do. This can help if you accept a discharged patient previously infected with COVID-19.
To view each memo, please visit:
- Suspension of Survey Activities
- Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention Concerning Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): FAQs and Considerations for Patient Triage, Placement and Hospital Discharge
- Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in nursing homes
Lastly, although you may prefer to print and read these documents, read them electronically. They contain numerous links to other valuable information sources.
CDC Coronavirus Update
Equally important, the CDC publishes regular coronavirus information, so check their website daily.
In fact, the one essential new document to very carefully review is entitled Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Hospital Preparedness Assessment Tool. This is like a tracer tool that you can use internally. It’s likely CMS and TJC surveyors will use this tool. Plus, we will use it on our consultation visits.
You can download a copy of this tool here.
What’s more, the tool provides guidance on:
- Employee education
- Signage and supplies for patients with respiratory infections
- Patient placement including testing the effectiveness of airborne isolation rooms
- Tracking and assessment of employees who provide care to COVID-19 infected patients
- Movement of patients within the facility
- Environmental cleaning
- Management of visitors and visitor restrictions
The CDC states that using their tool is not mandatory. But here is our ongoing council on tools like this. If the CDC experts advise we should do something, we need a good reason to not do it. And you should document those reasons in a risk assessment format.