CMS Clarification of Psychiatric Environmental Risks
Proposed Psychiatric Task Force: The Proposed Psychiatric Task Force to address the environmental risks associated with the
care of psychiatric inpatients is not the most appropriate vehicle to foster the changes that are required.
• Ligature Risks Compromise Psychiatric Patients’ Right to Receive Care in a Safe Setting: The care and safety of psychiatric
patients and the staff that provide that care are our primary concerns. CMS is incorporating the outcomes of the TJC Suicide
Panel (in which CMS participated) into comprehensive ligature risk interpretive guidance to provide improved direction and
clarity for state survey agencies (SAs) and accrediting organizations (AOs).
• Interim Guidance: Until CMS’ comprehensive ligature risk interpretive guidance is released, the SAs and AOs may use their
judgment as to the identification of ligature and other safety risk deficiencies, the level of citation for those deficiencies,
as well as the approval of the facility’s corrective action and mitigation plans to minimize risk to patient safety and remedy
the identified deficiencies.