Updates for State Surveyors and Accrediting Organizations
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is committed to the protection of patients and residents of healthcare facilities from the spread of infectious disease. Every Medicare participating facility in the Nation’s healthcare system must adhere to standards for infection prevention and control in order to provide safe, high quality care. As concerns arise with the emerging 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) threat, CMS encourages all healthcare facilities to carefully review the information provided by our partners at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Beginning March 4, 2020, CMS is suspending non-emergency survey inspections across the country, allowing inspectors to turn their focus on the most serious health and safety threats like infectious diseases and abuse. This shift in approach will also allow inspectors to focus on addressing the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In response to the Coronavirus threat (COVID-19), The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is urging State Survey Agencies (SAs) and Accrediting Organizations (AOs), as well as healthcare facilities, to maintain compliance with current CMS requirements and safety standards, specifically infection control procedures. Medicare/Medicaid certified providers and suppliers are strongly urged to monitor the COVID-19 CDC website as well as their State public health website and follow recommended guidelines and acceptable standards of practice.
Recently issued guidance for SAs and AOs are below:
New Frequently Asked Questions on EMTALA (April 30, 2020)
CMS issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) clarifying requirements and considerations for hospitals and other providers related to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FAQs address questions around patient presentation to the emergency department, EMTALA applicability across facility types, qualified medical professionals, medical screening exams, patient transfer and stabilization, telehealth, and other topics. Frequently Asked Questions
Infection Control Guidance to Home Health Agencies on COVID-19 (April 27, 2020)
CMS issued guidance to respond to questions from Medicare & Medicaid Home Health Agencies and Religious Nonmedical Healthcare Institutions. The guidance addresses the COVID-19 outbreak and minimizing transmission to other individuals. Guidance
Nursing Home Five Star Quality Rating System updates, Staff Counts, and FAQs (April 24, 2020)
CMS announced that the inspection domain of the Nursing Home Compare website will be held constant temporarily due to the prioritization and suspension of certain surveys, to ensure the rating system reflects fair information for consumers. In addition, CMS is releasing information that shows the average number of staff each nursing home has onsite, each day (nursing staff and total staff), and aggregated by state and nationally. Along with these announcements CMS released a list of Frequently Asked Questions to clarify certain actions the agency has taken related to visitation, surveys, waivers, and other guidance.
For a listing of all SA and AO COVID guidance, please visit the Policy & Memos to States and Regions web page.
For all CMS COVID related work, please visit Current Emergencies Website.