CMS Announces Resumption of Regular Surveys in Nursing Homes

August 20, 2020
Policy Snapshot

Guidance outlines recommendations to state agencies on Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of survey activities

On August 17, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will resume routine inspections of all Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers to improve the safety and quality of life for patients and residents. CMS had previously suspended certain routine inspections as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic to prioritize infection control and immediate jeopardy situations and to give health care providers and suppliers the time needed to respond to the spread of COVID-19.

“CMS has worked closely with states to complete focused infection control surveys of virtually all nursing homes in the country in just a few months,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “These surveys fortified healthcare facilities around the country to prepare for and implement actions to prevent transmission of the virus and provided indispensable insight into the situation on the ground. As CMS resumes some survey and enforcement activities that were previously put on hold, the health and safety of America’s patients will always be our top priority.”

In the guidance, CMS directed the resumption of on-site revisit surveys, non-immediate jeopardy complaint surveys, and annual recertification surveys as soon as resources are available. In addition, CMS is providing guidance on resolving enforcement cases that were previously on hold because of survey prioritization changes. The agency will also temporarily expand the desk review policy, when state surveyors ensure that facilities return back into compliance with federal requirements without an on-site survey, to include all noncompliance reviews except for immediate jeopardy citations that have not been removed.

CMS is also issuing updated guidance for the reprioritization of routine state survey agency activities on Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments. This updated guidance will provide flexibility and discretion to state survey agencies so that they can resume their survey activities based on the status of COVID-19 infections in their states.

For more information:

See the full text of this excerpted press release (issued August 17).