CMS to inspect SNFs' social media policies

New CMS guidelines follow numerous media reports detailing an increasing number of social media violations committed by nursing home staff members.
New CMS guidelines follow numerous media reports detailing an increasing number of social media violations committed by nursing home staff members.

Surveyors have begun reviewing nursing homes' policies for addressing employee abuse of residents on social media platforms.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a memo Aug. 5 informing providers that surveyors will request and review policies and procedures to prevent staff from sharing explicit content of residents on social media platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook. Explicit content is defined as photos or videos that “demean or humiliate a resident.” The new reviews were to be added to standard surveys 30 days after the memo's release, CMS said.

“Each nursing home must establish and enforce an environment that encourages individuals to report allegations of abuse without fear of recrimination or intimidation,” the memo reads. “The nursing home management must assure that all staff are aware of reporting responsibilities, including how to identify possible abuse and how to report any allegations of abuse.”

Also included in the memo were surveyor guidelines for investigating social media-related abuse of residents.