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The American Health Law Association (AHLA) has reported that CMS will halt routine inspections of nursing homes.

The Wall Street Journal (3/23, Mathews, Kamp, Subscription Publication) reports the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plans temporarily to halt routine nursing home inspections to focus on the most severe situations as cases of COVID-19 spread in US facilities.

Bloomberg Law (3/23, Pugh, Subscription Publication) reports, “The federal Medicare agency will work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help prevent Covid-19 outbreaks at high-risk hospitals and nursing homes, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.”

The CMS plan “calls for state inspectors to conduct targeted infection control surveys of nursing homes and hospitals that may be ripe for an outbreak, based on projections that the CDC has derived from Medicare claims data.” Verma said on a telephone briefing Monday, “This is an extraordinary step designed for extraordinary times.”

Skilled Nursing News (3/23, Spanko) reports CMS “doubled down on efforts to reorganize the nation’s nursing home survey apparatus around infection control amid the ongoing pandemic, stating its intention to more proactively target areas believed to be at the greatest risk for future outbreaks.”

For the next three weeks, as part of the new guidance, “surveyors will only be focusing on three kinds of surveys: immediate-jeopardy level complaints and incidents, targeted infection control surveys, and the self-assessments.”

CQ Roll Call (3/23, Raman) reports CMS on Monday also “announced that the Kirkland, Wash.-based nursing home – Life Care Center of Kirkland – would be classified as in immediate jeopardy, meaning it could be penalized for putting the health and safety of its residents in immediate danger.  Other outlets reporting include FierceHealthcare (3/23, King) and Modern Healthcare (3/23, Brady, Subscription Publication) as well as Reuters (3/23) in brief.

Posted 3/24/2020 by the American Health Law Association.

If you have questions about how this development may affect your long-term care facility, please contact Sammi L. Renken or John C. Marshall or the Johnson & Bell attorney with whom you regularly work.