CMS will undertake a comprehensive review of their regulations, guidelines, internal structure, and processes related to safety and nursing home quality by developing a five-part plan to ensure the care provided in America’s nursing homes is of the highest possible quality.
CMS plans to first strengthen oversight. The CMS oversees State Survey Agencies (SSA) which are required to perform inspections and assign punitive measures to nursing homes who fail to make the standard. The CMS plans to clarify SSA guidelines and release nationwide standards for said agencies in order to ensure nationwide consistency and safety for the most vulnerable among us. Finally, the CMS intends to provide a framework for better communication between regional managers in SSAs.
Next, CMS plans to investigate staffing more thoroughly, especially the long-running issue of illegal understaffing. CMS intends to impose stricter penalties for noncompliance with rules concerning chemical restraints, dementia care, and psychotropic drugs. Additionally, they have requested a higher budget from Congress to increase the frequency of mandatory nursing home surveys.
Increased transparency is another major bullet on the list for CMS. Their Nursing Home Compare website is now incorporating payroll data to provide better information on staffing levels. Not only that, but now when nursing homes fail to meet any standard, the information is posted on a public website, not just in the local newspaper.
CMS also wants to improve nursing home quality
nationwide. This will be accomplished by incorporating a more comprehensive system of penalties and fines for noncompliant facilities and by incorporating performance measures that focus on patient outcomes, not on adherence to processes.
Reduce Administrative Burden
Finally, CMS is working on reducing the administrative burden, both of time and cost, for these regulations. Nursing homes in a rural America could face shutdown if fixed costs of operation increase. To prevent this, CMS recently overhauled federal level health and safety requirements for the first time in over 25.
CMS is using this 5-point plan to improve care for our nation’s most vulnerable.
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