More long-term care stakeholders are calling on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ditch its proposal to expand the Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program to include staff COVID-19 vaccination rates.
The American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing on Wednesday released its submitted comments to the agency. The group argued that expanding the SNF QRP to include the additional measure for fiscal year 2023 as proposed wouldn’t be appropriate due to the possibility of duplicative penalties.
“This finalized rule requires more stringent weekly reporting, issues the F884 survey tag for any missed week of reporting, and applies civil monetary penalties for non-compliance with reporting,” the association explained.
It added that “finalizing this SNF QRP measure may impose additional financial penalties, in the form of the reduction to the Medicare APU, for missing data that would have already received a monetary penalty.”
The proposed adjustment was among several wrapped into the SNF Prospective Payment System proposed rule unveiled by CMS in early April. Under the proposal, SNFs would have to report staff COVID-19 vaccination rates to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Healthcare Safety Network starting Oct. 1.
CMS in mid-May issued an interim final rule mandating long-term care facilities to report weekly data on COVID-19 vaccination status for both residents and staff, and notified providers that the data will be made public. The first round of data was posted last week on the CMS COVID-19 Nursing Home Data website.
The association added that the vaccine statistics currently being publicly reported through the interim final rule provides “more timely data than the proposed four rolling quarters of data with the SNF QRP measure, which may quickly become outdated due to staff turnover.”
“We encouraged CMS to postpone public reporting of any COVID-19 vaccination data until at least one vaccination has received full FDA approval,” the group said.
LeadingAge in its comments also warned CMS against moving ahead with the proposal. It argued adding this measure would “mistakenly conflates the ability of a nursing home to overcome the independent, individual medical choices of its healthcare personnel with the ability of the nursing home to provide quality care to the residents living within.”