WHAT’S NEW FROM CMS?

As the world tries to find a new normal, long-term care (LTC) professionals are watching what changes will come down from various White House initiatives. These initiatives to improve nursing homes include:

  • CMS modifications for reimbursement and
  • Continued changes related to COVID-19 reporting and care in the facilities.

LTC professionals seeking to improve care, deal with staff crisis, and simple ways to implement required changes heard a recent talk by Ellen M. Berry, PT from CMS. In her talk at the American Association of Post-Acute Care Nurses (AAPACN) Conference in April 2022, Ms. Berry summarized key CMS news and impact areas:

Minimum Data Set (MDS) Updates

Expect a new version sometime soon before October 1, 2022 – with slight modifications across post-acute care settings. Per Berry’s talk, we can anticipate seeing changes in an upcoming release of the MDS including:

  • Interview items will have clearer directions for completion
  • An update to several items of the MDS that reflect “industry feedback finalizing best approach for a handful of items”

Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program

CMS has updated information for providers to utilize in training. Examples of these trainings are web-based trainings, job aids and pocket guides.
Care Compare Updates.  The July 2022 Refresh will include claims-based and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) information.

Skilled Nursing Facility Value Based Purchasing

Berry reminded us the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2021 authorizes CMS to add up to 9 measures and validation of data for SNF VBP & QRP. The “validation of data will improve the accuracy of measures included in the program.”  No timing for these new measures is known as of this writing.

SNF VBP now includes one measure – the SNF 30-day All-Cause-Readmission Measure.

Nursing Home Staffing Five Star Ratings

The nursing home staff turnover and weekend staffing measures are now posted on Care Compare. In July 2022, these measures become part of the Nursing Home Five Star Quality Rating system.

Summary

With continued legislative scrutiny, our industry can anticipate ongoing initiative and changes that every facility must monitor and be prepared to address. These steps can help you prepare:

  • Assign staff members from your team to check for updates or revisions and to report back on a weekly basis to the team.
  • The Director of Nursing and the Nurse Assessment Coordinator should work together to keep the facility up to date and communicate changes to the interdisciplinary team.
  • The team should implement a monitoring system to ensure changes are sustained.

Resources:

SNF QRP Help page:
https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/NursingHomeQualityInits/Skilled-Nursing-Facility-Quality-Reporting-Program/SNF-Quality-Reporting-Program-QRP-Help

RAI Manual Webpage
https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/NursingHomeQualityInits/MDS30RAIManual

Quality Measures Webpage 

https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/NursingHomeQualityInits/NHQIQualityMeasures

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