CMS: 'Significant' changes to final rule driven by provider comments

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The proposed rule received roughly 9,800 comments from stakeholders, CMS said
The proposed rule received roughly 9,800 comments from stakeholders, CMS said

Some of the biggest differences between the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' proposed rules for long-term care providers and the final rule released late last month reflect providers' concerns, officials acknowledged on Thursday.

“This was a large rule, there's a tremendous amount of information in it,” said Sheila Blackstock, deputy director of the clinical standards group at CMS' Center for Clinical Standards and Quality during Thursday's Skilled Nursing Facility Open Door Forum.

Blackstock said CMS received roughly 9,800 comments on the rule, which eventually swayed the agency on a few its more controversial proposals, one call attendee told McKnight's.

“Some of the real significant changes we made based on those comments,” Blackstock said. CMS official Evan Shulman said last week the timeline was the biggest concern reflected in the comments.

CMS also heard providers' concerns and nixed or tweaked some proposals, including one requiring disclosure of any documentation considered necessary by a surveyor, and another requiring pre-transfer evaluations of residents that was “uniformly objected to by stakeholders.”

CMS officials on the call also emphasized the importance of saving and submitting electronic payroll-based staffing data before the first deadline on Nov. 14.

The call also included an announcement stressing the importance of flu vaccinations as flu season begins, and a reminder that providers will have until Nov. 15, 2017, to comply and implement regulations required by the final emergency preparedness rule for healthcare providers.