Warning that persistent staff and supply shortages in hard-hit hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic have led to disruptions that could result in an increase in drug-resistant hospital infections, the heads of three US medical professional societies last week sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting a suspension of reimbursement penalties for healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
“As the number of COVID-19 cases surge, hospitals are becoming overwhelmed with more patients than can be managed with typical care standards,” the presidents of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the Society of Infectious Disease Pharmacists (SIDP), and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) wrote in a Dec 28 letter to HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan.
“Patient care staffing, supplies, care sites and standard practices have all changed during this extraordinary time. As such, quality metrics measured during this time frame are not comparable to non-COVID-19 time frames.”
The letter asks that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) not use 2020 quality measure data for HAIs to assess reimbursement for hospital inpatient services, and that the agency continue to suspend reimbursement penalties for the duration of the public health emergency.
Shortages increasing risk of infections
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