Providers’ staffing totals published on the CMS Nursing Home Compare website will be used to supply personal protective equipment needs during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new memo from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS will publish a list of the average number of staff members onsite at facilities each day. The information will be used to provide an adequate number of PPE and testing to nursing homes. The agency also is now waiving requirements for submitting resident assessment data (Minimum Data Set) and staff data (Payroll-Based Journal).
The CMS memo also announced a freeze to nursing homes’ current star ratings on the Nursing Home Compare website following the suspension of survey inspections during the coronavirus pandemic. In late March, the agency announced that it would suspend standards surveys for nursing homes and prioritize inspections regarding Immediate Jeopardy, infection control and self-assessments.
“This would disrupt the inspection domain of the Nursing Home Five Star Quality Rating System because many nursing homes that would normally be inspected, will not, thereby over-weighting and impacting the ratings of those facilities that are inspected. This could then potentially mislead consumers. Therefore, we will temporarily maintain and hold constant the health inspection domain of the rating system,” the memo stated.
CMS added that results of health inspections conducted on or after March 4, 2020, will still be posted publicly but not be used to calculate a nursing home’s health inspection star ratings. The memo also answered several frequently asked questions related to the agency’s actions regarding visitation, surveys, waivers and other guidance. The fox is guarding the henhouse.