CMS issues new infection control guidelines based on CDC recommendations

April 9, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a series of updated guidance documents focused on infection-control procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a variety of inpatient and outpatient care settings, including alternative treatment sites, drive-through screening operations and telehealth encounters, the agency said in a press release.

The guidance is designed to help local hospitals and healthcare systems rapidly expand their capacity to triage, screen and treat patients infected with COVID-19 while isolating them from those who are not infected, CMS said. The guidance also addresses how to screen and test staff and manage back-to-work policies.

The infection control guidance affects a broad range of settings including hospitals, critical access hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, community mental health centers, comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities, outpatient physical therapy or speech pathology services, rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers, the agency said.

The guidance also includes new instructions for dialysis facilities to protect patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), who, because of their immunocompromised state and frequent trips to healthcare settings, are particularly vulnerable to complications arising from COVID-19. The updated guidance includes the option of providing home dialysis training and support services and the establishment of special purpose renal dialysis facilities.

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