While much has been made of staffing flexibilities and waivers ending after May 11, the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency also brings with it critical new enforcement concerns for skilled nursing providers.

That’s the take of Kathleen McDermott, partner at law firm Morgan Lewis in Washington, DC.

“Providers must resume compliance with the ‘regulations as written.’ I don’t think that was easy before the pandemic, but it’s going to be the expectation for regulators and the survey process May 11 on,” McDermott tells McKnight’s Long-Term Care News in this episode.

“Providers must get back to normalizing documentation, patient and resource procedures that are coming back into effect,” she says. “The 3-day hospital stay is back in effect and the careful assessment of the need for skilled care and documenting that — the entire admission process is back to pre-pandemic requirements. That will be very important to establish.”

Being unaware of restored requirements at the federal or state levels could spell big regulatory trouble down the line. And this transition period could also be rife for the plaintiffs’ bar, which knows providers will have less ability to claim “COVID fog” as a defense with the government essentially saying we’re past the virus being a widespread emergency.

“If I had any theme, it would be that there are traps for the unwary,” McDermott tells McKnight’s Senior Editor Kimberly Marselas.