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News Brief: CMS allows standing orders for vaccinations
Home health agencies now may use standing orders to immunize patients for pneumonia and flu according to a new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services policy published in the Oct. 2, 2002 Federal Register (Vol. 67, No. 191).
The first sentence of the current requirements in the Conditions of Participation for Home Health Agencies at §484.18(c) now reads:
"Drugs and treatments are administered by agency staff only as ordered by the physician, with the exception of influenza and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines, which may be administered per agency policy developed in consultation with a physician, and after an assessment for contraindications."
Home health agencies must develop a policy for vaccination standing orders with input from physicians and must develop an assessment protocol so nurses can evaluate patients for contraindications before administering the vaccines.
Although a signed physician order is not needed, home health nurses also must include the immunization information on the patient’s plan of care. Prior to this change, a physician order was required for every vaccination administered. The effective date of this change was Oct. 2, 2002.