CMS proposal will target IT, staff competency protocols

Ling: Technological advancements have outpaced current rules.
Ling: Technological advancements have outpaced current rules.

Information technology and staff training are two key topics included in the proposed regulatory overhaul announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as part of the White House Conference on Aging in July.

The proposal seeks to “accelerate” the adoption of IT that wasn't available to facilities at the time of the last regulation revision, more than 25 years ago.

“The existing regulations don't even conceive of electronic communications the way they exist today,” Shari Ling, M.D., Medicare's deputy chief medical officer, said. “Also, there have been significant advances in the science and delivery of healthcare that just weren't imagined at the time the rules were originally written.”

The 403-page proposal includes a “competency-based” approach to making sure facilities meet CMS requirements. Facilities would be required to assess their capabilities and resident population, and provide staff with the competencies to meet residents' health needs, based on person-centered care plans. 

The proposal states that CMS believes most facilities already make these assessments, but that the changes will ensure they're consistently performed and documented.

CMS is accepting comments on the proposal through September 14, 2015.