The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing updates and initiatives aligning with the CMS strategic initiative to Ensure Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes. These updates and initiatives include:
• Phase 3 Interpretive Guidance: CMS will be releasing updated Interpretive Guidance and training for the Requirements for Participation for Long-Term Care (LTC) Facilities. However, this guidance will not be released by the November 28, 2019 implementation date of the regulations. We will be releasing the guidance in the second quarter of calendar year 2020, along with information on training and implementing related changes to The Long Term Care Survey Process (LTCSP). While the regulations will be effective, our ability to survey for compliance with these requirements will be limited until the Interpretive Guidance is released.
• Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Revision of Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities: Arbitration Agreements: On July 18, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule establishing requirements related to the use of binding arbitration agreements. This final rule amends the requirements that Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities must meet to participate with Medicare and Medicaid.
• Actions to Improve Infection Prevention and Control in LTC Facilities: CMS has created a nursing home antibiotic stewardship program training; updated the Nursing Home Infection Control Worksheet as a self-assessment tool for facilities; and is reminding facilities of available infection control resources.
• Release of Toolkit 3, “Guide to Improving Nursing Home Employee Satisfaction”: CMS has created a toolkit that helps facilities improve employee satisfaction.