Medicare manual revision addresses civil monetary penalty policies, survey timeframes

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A long-term care facility slapped with a civil monetary penalty has a chance for an independent informal dispute resolution, according to new manual guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The update to Chapter 7 of the State Operations Manual incorporates changes from a final rule published in the Federal Register in March 2011, “Medicare and Medicaid: Civil Monetary Penalties for Nursing Homes.”

The manual update also covers matters such as when an operator must put a monetary penalty in an escrow account and conditions under which CMS might reduce a penalty, including when a facility self-reports and promptly corrects noncompliance.

Providers also are urged to examine Chapter 7 items related to immediate jeopardy enforcement actions, CMS stated in its memorandum announcing the manual update. In particular, the chapter describes “very specific time frames for the survey enforcement process” when immediate jeopardy exists, according to the memo. For example, surveyors must furnish a notice of immediate jeopardy within two days of survey completion.

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