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SAMS NHSN User FAQs

What is SAMS?

CDC’s Secure Access Management Services (SAMS) is a federal information technology (IT) system that gives authorized personnel secure access to non-public CDC applications. The SAMS partner portal is a website designed to provide centralized access to public health information and computer applications operated by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. SAMS provides healthcare facilities and partners, such as state health departments and QIOs, with secure and immediate access to the NHSN application.

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How do I become a SAMS registered user?

If you are new to NHSN, after completing the required NHSN training, and have reviewed and accepted the NHSN Rules of Behavior, you will then receive an invitation to SAMS from "SAMS No-Reply (CDC)". This is a valid and official email from CDC.

If you are an existing NHSN user and currently have an active digital certificate, the NHSN Program will reach out to you. You will receive an invitation from ‘SAMS No-Reply (CDC)’.  This is a valid and official email from CDC.  However, please note that the timing of your migration to SAMS will be based partly on your digital certificate expiration date, but also upon how many SAMS applications can be processed by CDC per day. Keep in mind that in order to access NHSN, you must have an active digital certificate or you must be “SAMified”, so you should continue to renew your digital certificate on an annual basis when you receive an email prompt to do so, until you receive an email invitation to register for SAMS.

If you are an existing NHSN user who already has access to SAMS, we will assess your current authorization access level, and if appropriate, you will receive an authorization email from SAMS stating that you gave been granted access to NHSN. If additional verification credentials are required, the NHSN Program will reach out to you.

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How does a NHSN user get access to SAMS?

All NHSN users are invited to register for access to SAMS. Registration is a 3 step process:

  1. Online Registration – First, you will receive an ‘Invitation to Register’ email. This invitation will include instructions for the online registration process. During registration, you will be asked to supply some basic information about yourself. You will choose your personal SAMS password to help keep your account private and secure.
  2. Identity Verification– Once NHSN user has completed the online registration, you will receive an email with instructions for Identity Verification. In order to provide individuals with access to non-public information, U.S. law requires that the identity of potential users is first verified – this step is critical in helping to protect people’s private data and in helping to prevent information misuse. Please be assured that NHSN has made every effort to keep this necessary process as simple and non-intrusive as possible. Also be assured that your registration materials will only be used to help determine your suitability for information access and that these materials will not be shared outside of NHSN.
  3. Access Approval – Once your Identity Verification is complete, the access level most appropriate for your role will be determined and your SAMS account will be activated. SAMS will send you an account activation email with a link to the SAMS portal page where you can begin using your applications.

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Is the Identity Verification process similar to a background check?

No, Identity Verification is only used to confirm that you have registered using your true identity and that no one else is attempting to impersonate you.

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How often will I have to complete the SAMS registration process?

NHSN users will only be required to complete the SAMS registration process once, regardless of how many NHSN Components they use (e.g., a user at a facility that uses both the Patient Safety and the Healthcare Personnel Safety Components of NHSN will register for SAMS once) and regardless of how many CDC applications they have access to (e.g., a state health department employee who requires access to both NHSN and Epi-X will have to register for SAMS once). SAMS accounts do not expire as long as users successfully log into SAMS at least once per 12 month period.

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If I do not access SAMS monthly, will I lose access?

If a NHSN user does not access SAMS in a 12 month period from their last successful login, their SAMS account will be terminated and the user will not be able to access NHSN applications via SAMS until they re-register for SAMS. After their re-registration process has been completed, they will have access to NHSN again via SAMS. They’ll remain active users in NHSN as long as they successfully login during a 12 month period or until their Facility Administrator deactivates them.

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If I am in SAMS, can I still access Secure Data Network (SDN) applications that require digital certificates?

After a user’s migration to SAMS is complete, they will not have access to NHSN via SDN. Some users, such as state health department employees who require access to other CDC applications that currently operate under SDN (e.g., Epi-X) will retain access to SDN until those applications transition to SAMS in the future.

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How often will I have to change my password in SAMS?

You will be prompted to change your passwords every 60 days.

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How do I change my SAMS password?

  1. From the SAMS Welcome screen, click the Change My Password option.
  2. Enter a password in the New Password field. The password you select must meet the requirements specified on the screen.
  3. Enter the same password in the Confirm New Password field.
  4. Click Submit. A Task Confirmation message displays.

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I’ve forgotten my SAMS password. How can I reset it?

If you cannot log on to SAMS and you do not remember your password, go the login page and click "Forgot your password? Click here." A page will display that will allow you to identify yourself by answering the security questions you configured during your registration. You will then be allowed to change your password.

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I need to update my personal information in SAMS (e.g., I got married and changed my name or my email address has changed). How do I do that?

  1. Log in to SAMS.
  2. On the left side of the screen, click My Account.
  3. Click Modify My Identity Data.
  4. Modify the information displayed, and click Submit.
  5. When the confirmation message is displayed, click OK.

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Can I only access SAMS on my work computer?

You can access SAMS from any computer. Unlike a digital certificate, SAMS does not require installation.

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Will this migration affect my facility’s data that is already in NHSN?

No, it will not affect your data as SAMS is only a gateway to access NHSN. All your facility’s information that is in NHSN, including surveys, data, location mappings, etc. will be unaffected by NHSN’s migration to SAMS.

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Will this migration affect my ability to report data in NHSN?

No, it will not affect your ability to report data as SAMS is only a gateway to access NHSN. NHSN’s migration to SAMS will not change the role or user rights that have been assigned to an individual by his or her facility administrator. However, keep in mind that in order to access NHSN you must either be SAMified or you must have an active digital certificate, so you should continue to renew your digital certificate on an annual basis when you receive and email prompt to do so, until you receive an email invitation to register for SAMS instead.

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Will this migration affect my ability to enroll additional facilities in NHSN?

No, NHSN’s migration to SAMS will not affect a facility administrator’s ability to enroll additional facilities in NHSN as SAMS is only a gateway to access NHSN. However, if a facility administrator no longer has access to “NHSN Enrollment” in SAMS, they will have to contact nhsn@cdc.gov to request it.

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Will this migration affect the data my facility shares with an NHSN Group, such as my state health department’s mandatory reporting Group?

No, NHSN’s migration to SAMS will not affect the data access your facility has granted to any NHSN Groups. SAMS is only a gateway to access NHSN.

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Will this migration affect my facility’s ability to import data (CDA files from vendor software or csv procedure denominator files)?

No, NHSN’s migration to SAMS will not affect your facility’s ability to import data, whether you import CDA files from vendor software or you import your procedure denominator data using the csv file import option, as SAMS is only a gateway to access the NHSN application.

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Will this migration affect how I navigate within the NHSN application?

No, it will not affect your ability to navigate within NHSN as SAMS is only a gateway to access NHSN.

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Will my grid card be mailed to me at my facility?

Your SAMS grid card will be delivered to your home address via US Mail.

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I’m an NHSN facility administrator who already accesses NHSN via SAMS and I’m about to hire a new IP. When I add her as a new user in in my NHSN facility, do I have to ask CDC to invite her to SAMS?

No. After the SAMS pilot phase is completed and general migration of NHSN users to SAMS begins, any person who is added as a new user in NHSN will automatically be invited to SAMS instead of being instructed to apply for a digital certificate.

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When will the migration of all NHSN users to SAMS will be completed?

NHSN expects to begin our general migration of all NHSN users to SAMS in late 2013. We are planning a gradual migration since we will be limited by the number of SAMS applications that can be processed per day. We anticipate that the migration of our more than 22,000 users will take approximately two years to complete.

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Does CDC reimburse for notary services in the SAMS process?

No, CDC does not reimburse for notary services in the SAMS process; however, there are free options (e.g. within your facility or at your financial institution).

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When should I expect to get my invitation to SAMS?

The timing of your migration to SAMS will be based partly on your digital certificate expiration date, but also upon how many SAMS applications can be processed by CDC per day. Keep in mind that in order to access NHSN you must have an active digital certificate or you must be SAMified. You should continue to renew your digital certificate on an annual basis when you receive an email prompt to do so, until you receive an email invitation to register for SAMS instead.

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Is there anything I can do to prepare for SAMS now?

CDC doesn’t want to waste precious time and resources in attempting to migrate users who have retired or moved on to other jobs and no longer need NHSN access, so please periodically check the users in your NHSN facility and deactivate the profiles of any users who no longer need access.

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What should I do if I lose my grid card?

If you lose your grid card you should contact the SAMS Help Desk at samshelp@cdc.gov.

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What if the serial numbers on my SAMS grid card do not match the numbers listed on the letter that accompanied the card?

If this occurs please contact the SAMS Help Desk at samshelp@cdc.gov.

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Getting Help

For SAMS Partner Portal Questions please contact the SAMS Help Desk at samshelp@cdc.gov. NHSN questions may be directed to NHSN@cdc.gov.

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CMS requirements click here for more information

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