The memo states: “Specifically, CMS is suspending non-emergency inspections across the country, allowing inspectors to turn their focus on the most serious health and safety threats like infectious diseases and abuse.” The “non-emergency inspections” appears to refer to the current surveyor guidance, enacted by President Obama, for unannounced on-site inspections, which were originally established as part of the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law, signed by President Reagan.
In February 2018, Toby S. Edelman, a Senior Policy Attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy, commented on the CMS 2017 position in Bifocal, an American Bar Association journal:
“Through sub-regulatory guidance – that is, guidance below the level of regulations that is implemented without notice and comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedures Act – the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has essentially eviscerated the enforcement system. … On October 27, 2017, CMS proposed repealing and replacing surveyor guidance that the Obama Administration issued in July 2016. Remarkably, the American Health Care Association (AHCA), the large nursing home trade association, had explicitly requested replacement of the Obama guidance, which it identified by number, in its December 2016 letter to President-Elect Trump.”
Those with concerns about this policy are invited to contact the CMS at QSOG_EmergencyPrep@cms.hhs.gov.
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