CMS Says Agency Is Sending Quality Improvement Help to Nursing Homes In COVID-19 Hotspots

Federal agency is dispatching Quality Improvement Organizations to hotspots.

CMS announced today that it was providing additional resources to nursing homes in COVID-19 hotspots. Specifically, the federal health agency plans to deploy Quality Improvement Organizations across the country to provide immediate assistance to nursing homes in hotspots as identified by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

QIOs are CMS contractors who work with healthcare providers to help them improve the quality of healthcare they provide to Medicare beneficiaries, according to the press release. A CMS website says there are two types of QIOs: Beneficiary and Family Center Care (BFCC) QIOs that help with beneficiary complaints and the like, and Quality Innovation Networks (QIN) QIOs that are focused on data-driven efforts to improve patient safety.

CMS is also working to target facilities with known infection control issues by providing resources and support that will help them improve quality and safety and protect vulnerable Americans, the press release says.

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit nursing home residents and staff especially hard, and federal and state governments have been criticized for not acting sooner to put protective policies and practices in place. Poor infection control in U.S. nursing homes was identified as a problem prior to COVID-19. for The CMS moved to require nursing homes to report their deaths to the agency, and the website that CMS set up to keep a count says today that 35,517 nursing home residents died COVID-19-related deaths. Media outlets that have organized their own databases have published higher numbers.