News, Regulations, Skilled Nursing Facility

CMS releases interpretive guidelines, F-Tags for new survey process and penalty updates

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released revised interpretive guidelines to clarify existing requirements and provide guidance for Phase 2 of the new survey process, which includes requirements such as antibiotic stewardship, facility assessment, and QAPI. Along with a revised Appendix PP, CMS also published two documents to help providers understand revisions to F-Tags, including:

CMS states that these new F-Tags will be used after November 28, 2017. The agency also assures providers that they have “heard concerns regarding the scope and timing of the new requirements for Phase 2” and therefore will delay monetary penalties for noncompliance with Phase 2 requirements by one year. “Specifically, we will not utilize civil money penalties, denials of payment, and/or termination,” said the agency in a memo published Friday. Additionally, the agency will “hold constant” facilities’ Nursing Home Compare ratings for one year as providers prepare for and adapt to Phase 2 regulations.

Despite delays in monetary penalties, the implementation date for Phase 2 remains November 28, 2017. For facilities found to be noncompliant beginning November of this year, CMS will use the one-year delay period to educate providers through directed in-service training and by requiring plans of correction.