Providers were left shaking their heads in mid-August when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that it had levied more than $15 million in fines and tripled Immediate Jeopardy citations during the five months of the pandemic.

A day prior to the announcement, CMS Administrator Seema Verma had said on a stakeholder conference call with nursing home stakeholders, “We are here to help you and support you. This isn’t a time of fines and being punitive.” 

More than 3,400 nursing homes overall had been cited for noncompliance with infection control requirements or failure to report COVID-19 data to federal authorities.

Verma attributed an alarming rise in coronavirus infections to nearby communities bringing in more infections, but also to a troubling degree of infection control lapses by providers.