September 3, 2019
Will CMS Surveys Get Harder?

CMS administrator announces survey changes in new blog

Learn how stricter oversight could mean tougher inspections

As part of her career-long initiative to ensure quality, safety and consistency of compliance in nursing homes across America, CMS Administrator Seema Verma recently released new details of her ‘five-part strategy.’ Unveiled last April, the program calls for more uniform oversight and solidifies the Center’s commitment to securing greater guidance and resources for SSAs (State Survey Agencies).

Verma’s latest blog post breaks down the plan’s first prong, emphasizing main areas of improved oversight including ‘immediate jeopardy’ reporting, a new computer-based survey process, and increased monitoring of SSA surveyors.

CMS takes 5 The path to greater care:

 

Consistency is key

Throughout the address, Verma’s views on the matter come across as both passionate and persistent.

“Our nation is vast, and the states vary widely with regard to culture, geography and climate,” she writes. “But high-quality health care should be the same, no matter the location. This means that all SSAs must fairly and consistently apply CMS rules.”

In addition to advocating for patients and their families, the administrator supported President Trump’s proposed 2020 budget, which asks Congress for $442.2 million to fund the agency’s ‘Survey and Certification’ budget. That’s a $44.9 million increase from 2019.

While the American Health Care Association applauded Verma on her efforts, administrators in the nation’s 15,000 affected facilities worried about the consequences. Will tougher surveys mean harsher criteria? Greater hassle? Higher fines?

Those participating in Medicare and Medicaid can expect a clear crackdown. However, the CMS requirement is still limited to an annual state inspection per facility. Verma notes that in addition to annual reviews, SSAs must also visit nursing homes in the event of a complaint. “Combined, these surveys total roughly 70,000 inspections each year.”

If successful, SpecialtyRx believes the ‘five-part strategy’ appears a win-win for all parties involved. The plan protects our patients, fortifies the government’s (positive) role in health care, and promises to weed out repeat violators.