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Submitting COVID-19 and Flu Vaccination Data to NHSN

Nursing homes have been submitting COVID-19 vaccination data through the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) since at least 2021. This reporting must be completed at least weekly. The NHSN web page dedicated to this reporting is here. The reporting is required by regulation. The staff COVID-19 vaccination rate became a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Quality Reporting Program (QRP) measure in October 2021. Following an email blast from NHSN that left many providers confused, NHSN clarified that the weekly staff and resident COVID-19 vaccination data reported into NHSN would be transferred to the QRP with no additional action required by the provider.

In contrast, reporting of staff influenza vaccination rates through NHSN requires providers to take new steps. With staff influenza vaccination rates added to the QRP effective October 2022, providers need to begin reporting this data to NHSN in a specified way. Those who have been voluntarily reporting flu vaccinations should double-check to make sure that they are reporting in the format and through the appropriate NHSN component (i.e., Healthcare Personnel Safety (HPS) component).

Unlike other SNF QRP measures that are taken from Minimum Data Set (MDS) and claim submissions (and weekly NHSN reporting), the flu reporting does require nursing homes to submit data that most have not been submitting through NHSN so far. The requirement is that providers report this data at least ONCE for the current flu season before May 15th, although NHSN recommends monthly reporting. Importantly, this data will need to be submitted specifically through the HPS functionality to ensure that it is transferred to the SNF QRP. This may require a provider to go through the process of establishing access to the HPS component of NHSN. The operational guidance available here outlines the new requirements. A fact sheet available here provides quick information on obtaining access to the HPS component.

Contact: Darius Kirstein, dkirstein@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8841