CMS Suspends Skilled Nursing Reporting Rules in Harvey’s Wake

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Thursday announced an emergency suspension of Medicare quality reporting requirements for skilled nursing and other health care facilities affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) located in 32 Texas counties and five Louisiana parishes will be automatically granted exceptions for submitting Quality Reporting Program data for the second and third quarters of 2017, the agency announced in a memo; administrators at these facilities will not need to submit any paperwork to receive the relief.

CMS will also allow affected SNFs in counties not listed in the memo to apply for extraordinary circumstances exceptions through the normal channels.

“All of the exceptions are being granted to assist these providers while they direct their resources toward caring for their patients and repairing structural damages to facilities,” CMS said in its announcement.

The jurisdictions were all designated as “major disaster counties” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), CMS said in a release announcing the move. Should FEMA add more counties or parishes — the equivalent of county governments in Louisiana — to the list, SNFs in those jurisdictions will also be eligible for the automatic reporting exceptions.

“CMS will continue to monitor the situation and adjust exempted reporting periods and submissions deadlines accordingly,” the agency said.

The agency suspended reporting rules for a host of other health care providers affected by the historic storm, including inpatient psychiatric facilities, hospices, home health agencies, long-term care hospitals, and inpatient rehab facilities.

Written by Alex Spanko

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