Extraordinary Circumstances Exception Policy
The SNF VBP Program adopted an Extraordinary Circumstances Exception (ECE) policy in the FY 2019 SNF PPS final rule. This policy is intended to allow SNFs to receive relief from Program requirements due to natural disasters or other circumstances beyond the SNF's control that may affect the SNF's ability to provide high-quality health care.
With CMS approval, a SNF's claims will be excluded from measure rate calculations for the affected period if they can demonstrate that an extraordinary circumstance affected the care that they provided to their residents and subsequent measure performance.
ECE Request Instructions
SNFs must complete an ECE request form, available on QualityNet and in the "Resources" section of this website, and send the completed form to SNFVBP@rti.org within 90 days following the extraordinary circumstance. SNFs must provide the dates and duration of the circumstance in their request and include any available evidence of the impact of the extraordinary circumstance on the care that the SNF furnished to patients. This evidence includes, but is not limited to, photographs, media articles, and any other materials that would aid CMS in making its decision.
CMS will review exception requests, and at CMS’s discretion based on its evaluation of the impact of the extraordinary circumstance on the SNF’s care, CMS will respond to the SNF as quickly as is feasible.
CMS can also grant exceptions to SNFs when it determines that an extraordinary circumstance, such as an act of nature, affects an entire region or locale. If CMS decides to grant an exception to all SNFs in a region or locale, CMS will communicate this decision to affected SNFs.
ECEs’ Effects on SNFs’ Performance Scores
CMS scores any SNF that receives an ECE on achievement and improvement for any remaining months during the performance period. For example, if a SNF received an ECE for 6 months of the performance period, CMS will score the SNF on its achievement and improvement during the remaining 6 months of the performance period.