SPECIAL BULLETIN COVID-19 #135: Expectation to Comply with Infection Control and Prevention Measures

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Strong infection prevention and control practices are critical to reducing the transmission of COVID-19 within long-term care facilities. NC DHHS is reiterating its expectation that providers under the scope of SPECIAL BULLETIN COVID-19 #88: Additional Temporary Rate Increases for Skilled Nursing Facilities, LTSS Personal Care Service Providers and Home Health Providers to support Strengthening Infection Prevention Activities (Special Bulletin COVID-19 #88) participate in the infection prevention and control activities outlined in the Special Bulletin and reiterated here. Failure to do so by the dates established in this bulletin may result in recoupment of the 10% rate increase established in NC Medicaid Special Bulletin COVID-19 #88. 

Background

On May 11, 2020, NC Medicaid established a temporary 10% rate increase for Nursing Facility, Personal Care Service (PCS), and Home Health providers effective April 1, 2020 as communicated in NC Medicaid Special Bulletin COVID-19 #88. This rate increase is intended to provide financial support to these providers to strengthen their infection prevention activities. 

Under this Special Bulletin, NC Medicaid established that any provider receiving this rate increase must assess its current infection prevention and management capacities using the standardized self-assessment tools and process outlined below.  

If a provider has already submitted the Infection Control Assessment and Response (ICAR) Self-Assessment and related materials in compliance with Special Bulletin COVID-19 #88, no additional action is required at this time.

Action Required by Providers Who Have Not Yet Complied with Special Bulletin COVID-19 #88

Providers receiving rate increases under the scope of Special Bulletin COVID-19 #88 who have not already submitted an ICAR Self-Assessment and/or related materials must take the following actions by the dates provided below to be compliant with the Special Bulletin:

  1. Conduct and submit a self-assessment for each of the provider’s facilities using the COVID-19 Long-Term Care ICAR Self-Assessment Tool (available here
  2. Submit an Action Plan (using this template) based on the ICAR Self-Assessment and the provider’s current Infection Control Plan required by licensure for the facility to Evelyn Cook at evelyn_cook@med.unc.edu. Note: Please ensure that the subject line of your submission email includes only the word “COVID.” 
  3. Complete all activities no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.

Infection Prevention Consultation Available

In conjunction with the NC Statewide Program for Infection Control and Epidemiology (NC SPICE), the NC DHHS Division of Public Health's (DPH) Communicable Disease Branch Surveillance for Healthcare Associated and Resistant Pathogens Patient Safety (SHARPPS) Program is making subject matter experts available for technical assistance and consultation. Please submit your infection prevention questions through the Ask SPICE portal.

COVID-19 Enhanced Rates

Please note that all COVID-19 enhanced rates may be end dated by the Department in conjunction with the communication of the end date of the public health emergency.

Questions About This Bulletin

For questions about infection prevention, ICAR or submission requirements outlined here, please contact Evelyn Cook at the UNC Spice Program, at evelyn_cook@med.unc.edu.

For questions about NC Medicaid Special Bulletin COVID-19 #88 or related rate adjustments, please contact Medicaid.ProviderReimbursement@dhhs.nc.gov.

Contact

Medicaid Contact Center: 888-245-0179