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CMS Will Limit and Prioritize Survey Activity for Next Three Weeks

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has directed state agencies to suspend standard surveys for long term care facilities (nursing homes), hospitals, home health agencies, ICFs, and hospices during a 3-week prioritization period from March 20–April 10.  

Read Memorandum QSO-20-20-All.

Highlights  include:

  • During this period only two types of inspections will be conducted: (1) inspections related to complaints and facility-reported incidents that are triaged at the Immediate Jeopardy (IJ) level; inspectors will use a streamlined Infection Control review tool during these surveys, regardless of the nature of the IJ allegation; and (2) targeted infection control inspections of providers identified through CMS collaboration with the CDC, using a streamlined targeted review checklist.
  • During this period states will suspend (1) standard surveys, including the life safety code and emergency preparedness elements of those surveys, and (2) revisits that are not associated with IJ.
  • Surveyors are instructed not to conduct onsite inspections unless they have the necessary personal protective equipment to do so safely.
  • For pending enforcement cycles where a provider is currently not in substantial compliance or has not had a revisit to verify substantial compliance, CMS will suspend certain enforcement remedies during the prioritization period.
  • The memo includes a COVID-19 Focused Survey for Nursing Homes, identifying the critical elements surveyors will investigate relating to COVID-19.  CMS expects facilities to use the Focused Survey tool, in conjunction with CDC guidance, to perform a voluntary self-assessment of their ability to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

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