CMS Announces Independent Commission to Address Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes

May 1, 2020
Policy Snapshot

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new independent commission that will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the nursing home response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The commission will provide independent recommendations to the contractor to review and report to CMS to help inform immediate and future responses to COVID-19 in nursing homes.

“Safeguarding the health and, promoting the well-being and quality of life, of the most vulnerable and fragile citizens is a top priority for CMS,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.  “CMS has repeatedly taken early unprecedented, aggressive and decisive action to protect nursing home residents during this pandemic. And today, we are taking it one step further by asking that an independent Commission provide recommendations to further enhance efforts at the federal, state and local level, and help strengthen the Nation’s response to Coronavirus and keeping residents safe in nursing homes.”

The commission will help inform efforts to safeguard the health and quality of life of vulnerable Americans as CMS continues to battle COVID-19 as well as preparing for future threats to resident safety and public health.  The commission will include leading industry experts, family members, clinicians, resident/patient advocates, medical ethicists, administrators, academicians, infection control and prevention professionals, state and local authorities, and other selected experts. It is expected to convene later this month and develop recommendations on three key tasks:

  • Putting nursing home residents first by ensuring they are protected from COVID-19 and improving the responsiveness of care delivery to maximize the quality of life for residents.
  • Strengthening efforts to enable rapid and effective identification and mitigation of COVID-19 transmission (and other infectious disease) in nursing homes; and
  • Enhancing strategies to improve compliance with infection control policies in response to COVID-19.

Read more about the commission.