Current Report Articles
KDHE Infection Prevention Surveys Being Conducted by Telephone

KDHE (May 1, 2020) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and its Health Facilities Program have begun conducting remote COVID-19 focused infection prevention survey calls with acute care hospitals and long-term care facilities. The purpose of these calls is to perform an offsite infection control survey to assess infection prevention procedures in place to protect employees, patients and the public during the COVID 19 pandemic. Currently, onsite federal surveys are not being conducted except for those surveys determined to be needed for immediate jeopardy situations and approved by the CMS Regional Office.

KDHE's director of health facilities, Marilyn St. Peter, recently shared many positive comments with the Kansas Hospital Association regarding these phone surveys and the high compliance rate her agency is seeing. KDHE is utilizing the CMS tool, "COVID-19 Focused Infection Control Survey: Acute and Continuing Care." CMS has shared this tool with acute and continuing care facilities, and KDHE wants be certain providers are using this tool as a guideline for infection control prevention. If the tool is not being used, KDHE will provide it and encourage its use.

KDHE has prepared and distributed self-assessments for these facilities to assist with preparation for the infection control focused surveys and expects providers to be in compliance with the CMS guidance in effect at the time of the survey. Refer to the CMS webpage on guidance on coronavirus for state surveyors and accrediting organizations for the latest updates.

Employees from each of the following departments are invited to attend these conference call surveys: Infection Prevention; Nursing; Environmental Services; Quality Improvement; Risk Management, and Emergency Preparedness. The call typically lasts about an hour.

KDHE reports that they have had very positive results from all recent remote surveys. Every facility has been using good infection control practices and has been using the CMS tool. If providers have encountered challenges, they have been addressed and action plans have been put in place. KDHE wants to make certain that if there are questions or concerns, it can provide a referral to KDHE or to a CMS/CDC source if needed. These surveys are not entered into ASPEN as official surveys and no citations are issued.

KDHE also uses this survey time as an opportunity to thank providers for all they are doing on the front lines and to make sure health care workers know their efforts are appreciated.
--Deborah Stern