CMS Suspends Non-Emergency Survey Inspections to Focus on COVID-19

From CMS:

“Beginning March 4, 2020, CMS is suspending non-emergency survey inspections across the country, allowing inspectors to turn their focus on the most serious health and safety threats like infectious diseases and abuse.  This shift in approach will also allow inspectors to focus on addressing the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) In response to the Coronavirus threat (COVID-19), The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is urging State Survey Agencies (SAs) and Accrediting Organizations (AOs), as well as healthcare facilities, to maintain compliance with current CMS requirements and safety standards, specifically infection control procedures. Medicare/Medicaid certified providers and suppliers are strongly urged to monitor the COVID-19 CDC website as well as their State public health website and follow recommended guidelines and acceptable standards of practice.”

From CMS’ COVID-19 Memorandum:

“Effective immediately, survey activity is limited to the following (in Priority Order):

  • All immediate jeopardy complaints (cases that represents a situation in which entity noncompliance has placed the health and safety of recipients in its care at risk for serious injury, serious harm, serious impairment or death or harm) and allegations of abuse and neglect;
  • Complaints alleging infection control concerns, including facilities with potential COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses;
  • Statutorily required recertification surveys (Nursing Home, Home Health, Hospice, and ICF/IID facilities);
  • Any re-visits necessary to resolve current enforcement actions;
  • Initial certifications;
  • Surveys of facilities/hospitals that have a history of infection control deficiencies at the immediate jeopardy level in the last three years;
  • Surveys of facilities/hospitals/dialysis centers that have a history of infection control deficiencies at lower levels than immediate jeopardy.”