Providers heartened by CMS survey enforcement delay

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LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan
LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan

Provider groups are cheering a delay by the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services on enforcement remedies for specific Phase 2 nursing home survey requirements.

While CMS did not delay when providers should be ready for the new survey process — that's still Nov. 28 — the limitation on penalties “will give providers a chance to understand, prepare, and comply with some of the most complex and challenging aspects of the new requirements,” officials at LeadingAge said.

“We are pleased that CMS has heard our collective voices on the absolute need for longer lead time to put new procedures and practices in place to come into full compliance with the new requirements,” said LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan on Wednesday. “This is the way they should be phased in, giving nursing homes the opportunity to absorb wide-ranging new requirements, get expert help implementing them, and thoroughly train their staff.”

The organization noted it had submitted lengthy documentation about its concerns earlier this year. The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted LIving also said the interpretive guidance and CMP delay “is responsive to several of the concerns we have raised.”

“We appreciate CMS taking steps to incorporate feedback from providers so that the final regulation helps ensure our centers can continue their mission of delivering quality care seniors and individuals with disabilities,” the organization said in a statement.

The move was smart, agreed National Association for the Support of Long Term Care executive vice president Cynthia K. Morton.

“By delaying the financial penalties, facilities won't lose precious resources they need to get these requirements into implementation,” she said. “CMS has not taken the full pressure off of providers, but by delaying the financial penalties, it gives the provider a little less of a hammer if they are having trouble with implementation.”