SNFs Get More Time to Meet Sweeping Medicare Regulations

Last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its first comprehensive overhaul of skilled nursing rules since 1991. But faced with objections from operators in the industry about the scope and timing of the new requirements, CMS decided to delay their enforcement of the regulations.

The Phase 2 stipulations of the revised Requirements of Participation for skilled nursing facilities will still go into effect on November 28, 2017, but CMS will provide a one-year delay in enforcement, the agency announced in a June 30 memorandum.

If a facility does not meet certain new requirements after the implementation date, CMS will use the year-long period to educate facilities about the new quality standards by requiring a directed plan of correction or in-service training. During this time, the agency will not hit these facilities with civil monetary penalties, payment details, or Medicare/Medicaid terminations due to non-compliance with these particular regulations.

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“The listing of specific Phase 2 requirements associated with enforcement delays will be shared at a later date,” the memo notes.

New regulations under Phase 2 include a facility-wide assessment of competencies of staff, new requirements for medical chart reviews and psychotropic drugs, and development of an antibiotic stewardship program.

CMS is providing training resources on its website and on a Medicare Learning Network (MLN) Connect call on July 25 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. EST.

“We are pleased that CMS has heard our collective voices on the absolute need for longer lead time to put new procedures and practices in place to come into full compliance with the new requirements,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of the non-profit provider organization LeadingAge, in a statement. “This is the way they should be phased in, giving nursing homes the opportunity to absorb wide-ranging new requirements, get expert help implementing them, and thoroughly train their staff.”

Written by Elizabeth Jakaitis

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