Strengthen Infection Control

When Biden unveiled his pandemic response plan with an unprecedented national strategy, critics complained that the rescue plan was too expansive and detailed.  Incredible.  Isn’t that a good thing?

The new 200-page document calls on government agencies to “strengthen long-term care facility guidance, funding and requirements around infection-control policies.” Everyone can agree that nursing homes need better infection prevention and control measures and training.

The agencies also will “support long-term care staffing levels sufficient to ensure patient safety, and support the accelerated distribution of vaccines to residential care settings.”

Biden’s plan also calls on multiple agencies to provide assistance to long-term care facilities to implement a safe vaccination campaign. It would ensure that caregivers and vulnerable seniors in institutions are a priority for immediate actions.

“To increase incentives to vaccinate Medicare beneficiaries, CMS will evaluate how to incorporate quality measures for COVID-19 immunizations into its value-based purchasing programs, including Medicare Advantage Star-Ratings, the physician quality payment program, and accountable care programs,” the plan states.

“CMS will also use Medicare data to identify beneficiaries at the highest-risk and work with states and localities to operationalize vaccination plans. The Administration will also build on the CDC Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program to ensure that long-term care residents and staff can receive vaccinations in as streamlined and effective manner as possible,” it adds.

South Carolina saw its lowest total of new cases since late November, a period right as the holiday surge was beginning to accelerate in the state.