January 18, 2021
On December 4, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued QSO 21-06-NH, Updates to Nursing Home Compare website and Five Star Quality Rating System (the “Guidance”) directing that, effective January 27, 2021, it would resume calculating nursing homes’ health inspection ratings. CMS further directed that “findings from the focused infection control inspections will be used to calculate each nursing home’s inspection rating,” and that “these findings will be included the same way findings from complaint inspections are used in the Five Star Quality Rating System.” CMS also clarified that, notwithstanding waiver of timeframes for facilities to submit resident assessment information through the Minimum Data Set (MDS), facilities had nonetheless continued to submit MDS data. Consequently, as of January 27, 2021, CMS also intends to use data based on the data collection period ending June 30, 2020, to update the “quality measures posted on the Nursing Home Compare website and used in the Five Star Quality Rating System.”
Beyond these items, the Guidance also highlights the launch of Care Compare, a streamlined redesign of eight existing CMS healthcare compare tools available on Medicare.gov, including Nursing Home Compare. The new website is now active and is intended to provide a more user-friendly format for consumers with “no change in the information available about nursing homes or the methodology used to calculate ratings.”
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR PROVIDERS
Providers are encouraged to visit the Care Compare website regularly to review their facility information for correctness, and to continue to ensure the accuracy and completeness of quality data submitted to CMS. Providers should also be mindful that CMS has instructed state survey agencies to resume all surveys as soon as they have the resources to do so. While infection control continues to remain a top priority during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, providers should be progressing toward reprioritizing other important regulatory requirements going forward.
If you have any questions or need further guidance regarding CMS’s new inspection ratings guidance, please contact a member of Hancock Daniel’s Long-Term Care & Post-Acute Care team.
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The information contained in this advisory is for general educational purposes only. It is presented with the understanding that neither the author nor Hancock, Daniel & Johnson, P.C., is offering any legal or other professional services. Since the law in many areas is complex and can change rapidly, this information may not apply to a given factual situation and can become outdated. Individuals desiring legal advice should consult legal counsel for up-to-date and fact-specific advice. Under no circumstances will the author or Hancock, Daniel & Johnson, P.C. be liable for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages resulting from the use of this material.