California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requires that every facility has a full-time infection preventionist (IP). As per the CDPH AFL 20-85 “Effective January 1, 2021, AB 2644 requires a SNF to have a full-time IP, a role that may be shared by two staff members if the total time dedicated to the IP role is equivalent to one full-time staff member. The IP must be a registered nurse or licensed vocational nurse, and the IP hours cannot be included in the 3.5 direct care service hours per patient day required in a SNF.”
Please note that the IP role eligibility is expanded in CDPH AFL 20-51. “Effective January 1, 2022, AB 1585 expands existing eligibility and minimum qualifications for a SNF's IP. The IP must have primary professional training as a licensed nurse, medical technologist, microbiologist, epidemiologist, public health professional, or other health care related field. The IP must be qualified by education, training, clinical or health care experience, or certification, and must have completed specialized training in infection prevention and control.”
The facility must ensure that the IP meets the minimum qualifications outlined in CDPH AFLs 20-85 and 20-51. The facility should consider the IP’s education, prior experience, and clinical background. Additionally, the facility should consider their infection prevention needs and determine if there is a need for more than one IP. Public Health may direct facilities to attain additional IP(s) beyond 1 full-time IP to meet the requirements of an adequate infection prevention and control program as per Los Angeles County’s “Order of the Health Officer for Control of COVID-19: Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission in Skilled Nursing Facilities.”
As per CDPH AFL 20-84, the initial training for IPs should include the following topic areas and be a minimum of 14 hours:
An additional 10 hours of continuing education in the field of IPC are also required as per CDPH AFL 20-84, on an annual basis.
The following infection prevention trainings (≥ 14 hours) has been approved by CDPH for the initial training of the IP:
In reference to CDPH AFL 20-84: “Facilities should provide encouragement and support for IP staff to stay abreast of current news and training sources through a nationally recognized infection prevention and control association.” Facilities should encourage their IP staff to get involved and attend meetings of their local Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) Chapter.