The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will resume calculating nursing homes’ health inspection ratings starting on Jan. 27, 2021, the agency announced in a memo Friday.

Findings from the focused infection control inspections will be used to calculate each facility’s rating and will be included in the same way findings from complaint inspections are used in the Five Star Quality Rating System, the agency explained in the letter to state surveyors and nursing home stakeholders. 

“CMS has always strived to provide updated information about nursing homes’ compliance to consumers, families and residents. Also, we believe it is important for stakeholders to be aware of nursing homes’ performance on the focused infection control inspections,” the agency said of the move. 

CMS disclosed in mid-August that surveyors were allowed to resume all regular survey activities if they have enough staff members and personal protective equipment to do so. It had previously suspended certain routine inspections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to prioritize infection control and Immediate Jeopardy situations.

The agency noted in its Friday memo that it will update quality measures on the Nursing Home Compare site, particularly for providers who’ve continued to submit resident assessment information through the Minimum Data Set even though the timeframe for submitting that data was waived during the public health emergency. 

“Since nursing homes have continued to submit MDS data, the data can be used to update quality measures without any issues. We have also analyzed the data used to support the claims-based quality measures, and similarly, see no issues updating these measures,” the agency wrote. “Therefore, the quality measures posted on the Nursing Home Compare website and used in the Five Star Quality Rating System will be updated on January 27, 2021.” 

CMS explained that “this action will not only inform residents and families of the current status of residents in nursing homes, but will also incentivize nursing homes to improve performance. As we progress, CMS will analyze the quality measures for any significant changes, and take any actions needed to improve and protect resident health and safety.”