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CMS Announces New Targeted Plan for Health Care Facility Inspection

March 25, 2020Legal Alerts

CMS Announces New Targeted Plan for Health Care Facility Inspection

On March 23, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced a new focused inspection process for nursing homes.  The new inspection process is based upon what CMS learned from the COVID-19 outbreak at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.  During the inspection at Life Care Center, the inspectors found three immediate jeopardy cases in which a patient’s safety was in imminent danger. This outbreak was due to the facility’s failure to manage and identify residents who had symptoms and to properly notify the Washington Department of Health. Additionally, the facility did not have proper procedures in place in the event a key employee got sick; in this case it was their primary clinician.[1]

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), 147 nursing homes across 27 states have at least one resident with COVID-19.  In light of this information, CMS and CDC will collaborate in real-time about nursing homes with active cases of COVID-19 and will target inspections accordingly.

The targeting inspections will begin immediately.  CMS is postponing routine survey inspections to focus on infection control and immediate jeopardy allegations.  Under the targeted survey process, the following inspections will be conducted over the next few weeks:

  1. Complaint Investigation: Complaint inspections which involve Immediate Jeopardy allegations.
  2. Targeted Infection Control Inspections: Inspections of nursing homes identified through collaboration with CDC.  The inspection will consist of both onsite and offsite inspections.
  3. Self-Assessments: Nursing homes should review and update, if necessary their Infection Control plans. 

Recently, Infection Control data tags have made the Top 10 list of deficiencies year after year.  Now more than ever, it is important to address infection control issues. If you have any questions, please contact your Dinsmore health care attorney.

To view the fact sheet, visit: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/kirkland-washington- update-and-survey-prioritization-fact-sheet

This guidance, and earlier CMS actions in response to the COVID-19 virus, are part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts. To keep up with the important work the Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19 click here www.coronavirus.gov. For information specific to CMS, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.