GAO Watch Blog – “Recent COVID-19 related deaths at nursing homes have raised concerns about the health and safety of the nation’s 1.4 million residents living in these facilities. In today’s WatchBlog, we look at the federal role in protecting nursing home residents and our recent report that identified ongoing gaps in this effort that pre-date the coronavirus pandemic. Nursing home infection control – There are about 15,500 nursing homes in the United States. Federal standards require that these facilities establish and maintain infection prevention and control programs. While the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is responsible for ensuring that these facilities have programs and safety measures in place, it relies on state agencies to conduct surveys and investigations of facilities to ensure nursing homes comply with federal standards. Deficiencies in meeting these standards can include situations where, for example, nursing home staff did not regularly use proper hand hygiene or failed to implement preventive measures during an infectious disease outbreak like isolating sick residents. Many of these practices can be critical to preventing the spread of infectious disease, including COVID-19…” [h/t Pete Weiss]
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