Pursuant to guidance received from the federal government on Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA), the department will immediately focus its attention on combating the spread of Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in Iowa health care facilities, including nursing homes and hospitals.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a memo on March 4 which included guidance for all state survey agencies and accrediting organizations that conduct surveys of Medicare-participating health facilities. DIA will adopt these same priorities in State-licensed and certified facilities that are not overseen by CMS.
Survey activity for all regulated facilities will focus on (in order of priority):
- All immediate jeopardy complaints (a situation in which an entity’s alleged noncompliance has caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury, harm, impairment, or death to a resident or patient) and allegations of abuse and neglect;
- Complaints alleging infection control concerns, including facilities with potential COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses;
- Statutorily-required recertification surveys (nursing home, home health, hospice, and care facilities for the intellectually disabled);
- Any re-visits necessary to resolve current enforcement actions;
- Surveys of facilities/hospitals that have a history of infection control deficiencies at the immediate jeopardy level in the last three years;
- Surveys of facilities/hospitals/dialysis centers that have a history of infection control deficiencies at lower levels than immediate jeopardy.
“We are committed to protecting the well-being of Iowans who rely on the care they receive at our state’s network of health care facilities,” said DIA Director Larry Johnson, Jr. “DIA will continue to work closely with our partners at the local, state, and federal levels, and will take any steps necessary to bolster the preparedness of facilities to combat the spread of COVID-19 and any other infectious disease.”
Iowans who wish to learn more about Novel Coronavirus and how to prevent the spread of the virus should visit the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website.