CMS Extends Moratorium on Phase 2 Enforcement Penalties

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This delay allows providers to better understand the new numbering system for F-Tags while avoiding the risk of civil money penalties, discretionary denials of payment for new admissions, or discretionary termination. The Phase 2 survey process, which became effective November 28, 2017 has increased the number of F-Tags from 176 to 179. What complicates this is that some of the F-Tags have been combined, while others have split into multiple subparts.

F-Tags included in the moratorium:

F655 – Baseline Care Plan

F740 – Behavioral Health Services

F741 – Sufficient/Competent Direct Care/Access Staff-Behavioral Health

F758 – Psychotropic Medications related to PRN Limitations

F838 – Facility Assessment

F881 – Antibiotic Stewardship Program

F-865 – QAPI Program and Plan

F926 – Smoking Policies.

NOTE: There is one tag not included in the moratorium: F608, which concerns the reporting of reasonable suspicion of a crime.

Freeze on Health Inspection Star Ratings

In addition to the moratorium, CMS announced that they would hold constant the health inspection star ratings on the Nursing Home Compare website for any surveys conducted between November 28, 2017 and November 28, 2018. Facilities surveyed using the new LTC survey process will still be published on Nursing Home Compare; however, the findings will not be incorporated into the calculations for the Five-Star Quality Rating System for 12 months.

Beginning in January 2018, the Nursing Home Compare health inspection star ratings will be based on the two most recent cycles of findings for the standard health inspection surveys and the two most recent years of complaint inspections. Any surveys and complaint investigations prior to November 28, 2017 will impact star ratings. CMS will update the User’s Guide for the Five Star Quality Rating System and the Nursing Home Compare website with recent changes.

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