Strategic Partnership Helps Nursing Homes Report Infections

In November of 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) finalized new reporting regulations for participating long-term care facilities.

Those new regulations included Infection Control and Prevention. CMS is also working to increase infection reporting of Clostridium difficile (CDI) in nursing homes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Qsource partnered with the Tennessee Department of Health to assist nursing homes across the state in the enrollment process for the CDC’s website for reporting, the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). Enrolling in the website is a five-step process and can be very time-consuming.

Some of the barriers for providers included NHSN technical glitches, staff turnover in the nursing homes and other competing priorities for the facilities’ limited time. We provided on-site assistance, webinars, phone calls and written instructions to assist the users in enrollment. We even became notaries to assist in that part of the process, so that nursing home staff wouldn’t have to leave their facility to get documents notarized.

Perseverance is Key
At a facility in Nashville, we began the registration process, notarized the documents for the user and had it almost completed. Then, without notice, that staff person left the facility. We had to start from scratch, identifying a new user and getting their documents filled out and notarized. After several months, we had almost completed the process again when a technical glitch occurred and the NHSN system was down for a week. We finally got the facility enrolled after about six months. This is just one example of some of the barriers we faced and why it’s so important to stay engaged with the nursing home staff throughout the enrollment process.

“We now have 48 nursing homes across the state of Tennessee enrolled in NHSN and ready to report their CDI data.”
                                                                       ~Sarah Potter, Quality Improvement Advisor

We will continue to provide support, including ongoing education, technical assistance and data review. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of facilities submitting CDI data, which will help develop a national baseline, reduce infection rates nationwide and improve the care nursing home residents receive across the Qsource region.

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Sarah Potter

Sarah Potter, RT(R), MBA is a quality improvement advisor for Qsource in Tennessee focusing on Nursing Home Infection Prevention and Antibiotic Stewardship initiatives. She is a clinically trained professional with more than seven years of experience in the acute care environment as a radiologic technologist. She completed her undergraduate degree in Healthcare Administration then joined an Epic EHR implementation and spent two years in HIT.  She has facilitated many projects around patient safety and how it affects value-based purchasing. Recently, she completed her MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Administration.