Providers got a glimpse last week of the latest federal quality standards they will be expected to follow to reduce infections and also to comply with Joint Commission accrediting standards.
HHS released its infection-control action plan detailing how it expects healthcare professionals to target six hospital-acquired infections for reduction and possible elimination within five years. In addition, the Joint Commission revised some hospital accrediting standards and elements of performance to meet Medicare requirements as it prepares to reapply for deeming authority from the CMS.
The federal departments preliminary plan, first announced last September, contains goals that providers should find reasonable, according to infection specialists. Providers will have to focus on reducing six hospital-acquired infections: catheter-associated urinary tract; central line-associated bloodstream; Clostridium difficile; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; surgical-site infections; and ventilator-associated pneumonia.
The targets and measures for combating those infections are appropriate and timely, according to Jennifer Trecroci, an infection-control nurse at 73-bed Aurora Medical Center, Kenosha, Wis. The five-year prevention target sounds realistic as long as there is consistent communication among all agencies involved so as not to have duplication, Trecroci said in an e-mail.
Infection-control practices also are included in the commissions updated standards. The changes were made to the hospital accreditation program in conjunction with the CMS, which requested the modifications, according to a commission spokesman. Updates include standards and elements of performance within several chapters of the accreditation manual, including leadership, care and treatment, medication management and medical staff.
The commission currently is preparing its application and expects to submit it this month. The CMS will have until the end of the year to make a final decision. Two other Joint Commission programs have gone through the reapplication process: its ambulatory facility accreditation received approval for the maximum of six years and its critical-access hospital program received a conditional approval. The commission is working with the CMS on clarifying some of the language in the program, the spokesman said.