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SNF Gets 10k Fine after Infectious Disease Outbreak

Note: the example cited in this blog isn’t designed to be accusatory and our policy is to avoid calling out providers by name. Rather, the purpose of this blog is to be instructive so that SNF’s are aware of how to avoid pitfalls. We also believe that it’s important for healthcare providers to be transparent when mistakes happen so that everyone can learn from them. After all, the most dangerous thing besides making a mistake in healthcare is not telling others about it. We here at Clearpol want to provide a safe, inclusive space where everyone can learn the most up-to-date info about staying healthcare compliant, and we hope you’ll join our community. Using Clearpol’s software can help your facility stay on top of the myriad healthcare rules and regulations so that you can avoid being cited and fined for noncompliance.

Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF’s) are susceptible to infectious diseases like anywhere else, and it’s important for SNF’s to stay vigilant in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases among patients and staff. COVID-19 has been in the news over the last couple years, but there are a wide range of diseases that can affect SNF’s, so facilities must have proper policies and procedures in place to prevent them and mitigate their spread. Failure to do so can lead to enforcement actions, including hefty fines and even termination from the Medicare or Medicaid programs.

For example, a SNF with about 100 beds in Ventura County, California was cited for immediate jeopardy and subjected to a fine of around $10,000 when a surveyor found that the facility had failed to maintain an infection prevention program to prevent and control a suspected outbreak of Scabies, which is an infestation of the skin by a human itch mite. As a result, nine residents and eight employees at the SNF developed symptoms indicative of Scabies, and the SNF’s failure to maintain an infection prevention program placed other residents, staff, and visitors at risk because Scabies is highly infectious.

The surveyor made a finding of immediate jeopardy and his/her statement of deficiency noted that the SNF had violated F880, not only for failing to maintain an infection prevention program but also for failing to properly report the Scabies outbreak. The statement of deficiency also referenced AFL 20-75, which reminds providers of the requirement to report outbreaks and unusual infectious disease occurrences to the local public health officer and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). In addition, 22 CCR § 73535 requires facility’s to promptly report any outbreak or undue prevalence of infectious or parasitic disease to their local health officer.

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