OIG Issues a Report on Infection Control Policies by Select HHAs

Situation Report | October 4, 2021 

The federal Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued an audit on the infection prevention and control policies and procedures for eight Home Health Agencies (HHAs).  

The audit findings are available on the OIG website.

The OIG reviewed each HHA provider’s policies and procedures to determine whether they include:  

  1. Guidance for following standards of practice,  
  2. A coordinated agency-wide infection control program, and  
  3. Infection control education for HHA staff, Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers. The OIG also determined whether the HHA providers’ policies and procedures followed CMS COVID-19 guidance for: (1) screening patients, (2) screening staff, and (3) treating patients with known or suspected COVID-19.  

The OIG found that six of the eight selected HHA providers had infection control policies and procedures that complied with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS’s) requirements and followed CMS guidance to safeguard HHA staff, Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

However, one HHA provider did not comply with CMS requirements or follow CMS COVID-19 guidance. Specifically, this HHA provider’s infection control policies and procedures did not:  

  1. Require staff to follow one of the standard precautions to prevent the transmission of infections and communicable diseases,  
  2. Include documentation of surveillance methods used for identifying and tracking infections and improvement activities to prevent infection,  
  3. Include COVID-19 screening protocols for staff in accordance with CMS guidance, and  
  4. Include information about how to care for patients with known or suspected COVID-19 in accordance with CMS guidance.  

In addition, this provider and another HHA provider’s COVID-19 screening protocols for patients were not consistent with CMS guidance.