Yesterday, CMS announced enhanced enforcement for nursing homes with violations of longstanding infection control practices. These heightened accountability measures include civil money penalties (CMPs) for facilities with recurrent infection control violations and deficiencies. CMS claims that ratcheting up penalties for noncompliance with infection control will help prevent backsliding, improve accountability, and ensure compliance.
In addition to penalty enforcement, CMS announced that it will allocate the $80 million dollars in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to states relative to performance-based metrics. States that have not completed 100% of focused infection control surveys by July 31st will be required to submit a corrective action plan to their CMS location. If states fail to perform surveys in 100% of their nursing homes within 30 days their CARES Act fiscal year 2021 allocation may be reduced by 10 percent. Those funds would then be redistributed to states that had complied with the regulations. States will be required to use the CARES Act funds to perform on-site surveys at facilities with previous COVID-19 outbreaks as well at any nursing home with new suspected or confirmed cases.
In a letter outlining these enhanced penalties for non-compliance to state Governors CMS called the effect of COVID-19 on the nation’s nursing homes “devastating” and requested that states focus their testing on nursing homes and other vulnerable communities. CMS also stressed the importance of using newly allocated HHS funding to develop a comprehensive testing plan in these communities.
For more detailed information, including a full list of CMS Public Health Action for Nursing Homes on COVID-19 to date, visit the CMS Newsroom.