On April 7, 2022, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a memorandum stating that several COVID-19 blanket waivers for certain healthcare services will be ending soon. Specifically, CMS will terminate blanket waivers of regulatory requirements that apply to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), inpatient hospices, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IIDs), and end stage renal disease (ESRD) facilities.
CMS has expressed concern “about how residents’ health and safety has been impacted by the regulations that have been waived, and the length of time for which they have been waived.” Findings from onsite surveys conducted at the facilities previously mentioned “have revealed significant concerns with resident care that are unrelated to infection control (e.g., abuse, weight-loss, depression, pressure ulcers, etc.).” In response to these findings, CMS is removing certain operational flexibilities which do not directly relate to infectious disease control. The termination of these blanket waivers will not have any effect on other applicable blanket waivers, such as those for hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs).
Terminations of blanket waivers will occur in two groups and become effective either 30 days or 60 days from publication of the memorandum. CMS instructs all affected healthcare providers to “take immediate steps so that they may return to compliance with the reinstated requirements” within these timeframes. The specific blanket waivers ending under both timeframes are as follows:
Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for SNF/NFs Ending 30 Days from Publication of CMS’ announcement:
- Resident Groups
- Physician Delegation of Tasks in SNFs
- Physician Visits
- Physician Visits in Skilled Nursing Facilities/Nursing Facilities
- Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI)
- Detailed Information Sharing for Discharge Planning for Long-Term Care (LTC) Facilities
- Clinical Records
Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers For Various Provider-Types Ending 60 Days from Publication of CMS’ announcement:
- Physical Environment for SNF/NFs
- Equipment Maintenance & Fire Safety Inspections for ESRD facilities
- Facility and Medicaid Equipment Inspection, Testing & Maintenance (ITM) for Inpatient Hospice, ICF/IIDs and SNFs/NFs
- Life Safety Code (LSC) and Health Care Facilities Code (HCFC) ITM for Inpatient Hospice, ICF/IIDs and SNFs/NFs
- Outside Windows and Doors for Inpatient Hospice, ICF/IIDs and SNFs/NFs
- Life Safety Code for Inpatient Hospice, ICF/IIDs, and SNFs/NFs
- Paid Feeding Assistance for LTC facilities
- In-Service Training for LTC facilities
- Training and Certification of Nurse Aides for SNF/NFs
For over 35 years, Wachler & Associates has represented healthcare providers and suppliers nationwide in a variety of health law matters, and our attorneys can assist providers and suppliers in understanding the healthcare regulatory landscape. If you or your healthcare entity has any questions pertaining to healthcare compliance, please contact an experienced healthcare attorney at 248-544-0888 or email@example.com.