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CMS announces resumption of enforcement efforts

The United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced it will resume enforcement and routine inspection efforts. The agency had suspended the efforts in response to the current coronavirus pandemic in an effort to help reduce the risk of spreading the disease while also allocating resources to help with efforts for infection control and Immediate Jeopardy situations.

Two of the big takeaways from the agency’s announcement include:

  • The CMS will provide State Survey Agencies with guidance on resolution of enforcement matters. CMS officials state they will give information to these agencies to help them resolve suspended cases. The guidance will also include information on how these agencies can collect penalty payments.
  • The agency will also expand the authority present for desk review. CMS officials also stated the agency will increase the use of desk review to resolve enforcement cases. In most cases, the agency will expect providers to submit an acceptable Plan of Correction (POC) for review. If done correctly, this could remove the requirement for an onsite visit to resolve the matter at hand. At this time, it appears the expanded powers and use of desk review are only temporary.

The agency also highlights the need to review actions specifically for nursing homes and labs. The CMS recently reported it levied more than $15 million in fines for nursing home facilities during the six months of the coronavirus pandemic. These fines are mostly the result of noncompliance when it comes to infection control requirements or a failure of the nursing facility to report COVID-19 data.    

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