June 7, 2012_NH "Dear Administrator" Letters

June 7, 2012

ADSA: NH #2012-005
S&C 12-30: Use of Insulin Pens

Dear Nursing Facility/Home Administrator:

The purpose of this letter is to let you know that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a survey and certification (S&C) memorandum on use of insulin pens in health care facilities.

CMS has recently received reports that insulin pens are being used for more than one resident, with at least one episode resulting in the need for post-exposure resident notification.  Sharing of insulin pens is essentially the same as sharing needles or syringes and will be cited, consistent with the applicable provider specific survey guidance, in the same manner as reuse of needles or syringes.

Action highlights from the CMS memorandum:

  • To prevent bloodborne infections in residents under your care, insulin pens must never be used for more than one resident, even when the needle is changed. 
  • Insulin pens must be clearly labeled with resident's name or other identifier to verify that the correct pen is used on the correct resident.
  • It is important to review your policies and procedures and educate your staff regarding the safe use of insulin pens.

To read the details of the memorandum online, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/SurveyCertificationGenInfo/Policy-and-Memos-to-States-and-Regions-Items/Survey-and-Cert-Letter-12-30

Please contact your local RCS Field Manager if you have any questions.


Joyce Pashley Stockwell, Director
Residential Care Services