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Nursing Home Inspection Agencies Under More Government Scrutiny

Oct. 17, 2019, 9:24 PM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is revamping the system used to evaluate the performance of state nursing home inspection agencies in light of growing concern about resident safety.

In an Oct. 17 memo to states, the CMS outlined a series of changes designed to strengthen the State Performance Standards System, which governs state nursing home inspectors.

The changes include new performance measures; new monitoring to ensure fair, accurate, and timely inspections; and new guidelines designed to ensure that enforcement actions against non-compliant facilities, like civil monetary penalties, are applied consistently and fairly. The updates are effective immediately.

The effort builds on the CMS’ five-part plan to improve nursing home safety by reducing administrative burdens and increasing transparency, enforcement, oversight, and quality.

“After careful study of State inspector performance, CMS is taking action to increase oversight of inspectors and ensure States are conducting thorough and appropriate inspections,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “By holding inspectors accountable for conducting timely and consistent inspections, we’re holding nursing homes accountable for providing safe, high-quality care—helping ensure safe nursing home environments.”

In instances where facility violations put health and safety in immediate jeopardy, state inspection agencies will be evaluated on the timeliness of their efforts to rectify the situation.

The new system also gives the CMS flexibility to target resources to poor-performing state inspection agencies.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Pugh in Washington at tpugh@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Childers at achilders@bloomberglaw.com