CMS updates survey procedure for civil rights requirements

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will require Medicare providers to electronically submit proof of compliance with civil rights requirements, according to a memo sent last week.

The new process, which is effective immediately, was a collaboration between CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights, according to the memo.

New providers or providers undergoing an ownership change will now be required to electronically submit an attestation of compliance with the requirements to the OCR before state survey agencies and regional offices process requests for initial surveys and CHOWs. Successful submission of the attestation to OCR will help eliminate the need for CMS regional offices to issue provisional provider agreements, officials said.

If the OCR receives discrimination complaints before an initial certification or CHOW it may use enforcement tools, such as compliance reviews, new policy guidance and educational opportunities to help a provider become compliant, CMS said.