National CMS/CDC Nursing Home COVID-19 Training: Week 11 Recap

COVID-19 Surveillance to Enable Early Detection and Response to Outbreaks: National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Mandatory Data Collection

The August 6, 2020 National CMS/CDC Nursing Home COVID-19 Training presentation offered detailed guidance to collect and save data to the new National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) LTCF (long-term care facility) COVID-19 Module, along with some timely reminders on the benefits of infection surveillance on nursing home infection control programs. 

The heart of the August 6 training included a live demo of the NHSN collection and submission process by Angela Anttila, PhD, MSN, NPC, CIC, nurse epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC manages NHSN, a secure, internet-based surveillance system that collects and analyzes data from a variety of health care facilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has required nursing homes to submit COVID-19 data each week to the NHSN LTCF COVID-19 Module. These data are shared with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to help monitor trends in COVID-19 infection rates, detect outbreaks, identify nursing homes with staff or supply shortages and to help local, state and federal governments direct resources where they are needed most.

The NHSN LTCF COVID-19 Module releases new data each week in four areas of COVID-19 impact:

Resident Impact & Facility Capacity

  • New admissions
  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases
  • Suspected COVID-19 cases
  • Total deaths and COVID-19 deaths
  • Current census
  • COVID-19 testing

Staff and Personnel Impact 

  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases
  • Suspected COVID-19 cases
  • COVID-19 deaths
  • Staff shortages

Supplies & Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • PPE availability
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer availability

Ventilator Capacity and Supplies 

  • Mechanical ventilators available
  • Mechanical ventilators in use by suspected or confirmed COVID-19 residents
  • Ventilator supply availability

The presentation recording walks you through the data submission process. Still have questions about NHSN reporting? Anttila shared that nursing homes can contact NHSN via email through NHSN@​CDC.​gov. For a faster response, be sure to include LTCF” and the topic in the subject line of the email. Some examples of subject lines include:

  • LTCF – add new user
  • LTCF – COVID-19 Module question
  • LTCF- data

Don’t forget - Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs) are another resource available in every state and territory to help nursing homes register and train their staff members how to use the NHSN LTCF COVID-19 Module.

The NHSN demo was introduced by Linda Behan, BSN, RN, CIC, a senior director of infection prevention and control for Genesis Healthcare, one of the largest post-acute care providers in the U.S. with nearly 400 skilled nursing centers and senior communities in 26 states. While CMS does send its memos directly to nursing home leaders, she noted the challenges of staying current with the constantly evolving COVID-19 guidance. Two resources help keep her in the know: the CMS COVID-19 Partner Toolkit and CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder calls. The 30-minute Nursing Home Stakeholder Calls are held twice a month on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. ET. At press time, the next CMS Nursing Home Call is scheduled for Wednesday, August 12, 2020; join online or dial in toll-free at 8336140820 with access passcode 7857618

Behan also reinforced the importance of consistent infection surveillance to help prevent or manage the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes. Check out the presentation recording for examples of outcomes surveillance (including a heat map you can create in PowerPoint) and process surveillance. Need an infection surveillance refresher? Eli DeLille of Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG) offers a good overview of the different kinds of infection surveillance as well as a variety of tools and resources in his July 16, 2020 presentation

To Learn More
Download the slides and resources from the National CMS/CDC Nursing Home COVID-19 Training Series page, visit www.QIOProgram.org to connect with the QIN-QIO serving your state or territory and sign up for updates about the National CMS/CDC Nursing Home COVID-19 Training Series.