News Alert: CMS Issues Guidance for Nursing Home Surveyors

The work to overhaul and rebuild the nursing home system is continuing as CMS addresses multiple problems and makes essential changes. A few weeks ago Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) removed the COVID-19 Emergency Waivers, and they have been diligent in issuing new visitation guidelines to limit the harmful effects of isolation. Their latest move was updating the guidance and training of nursing home surveyors as they evaluate the conditions of nursing homes across the country. 

Why This is Important

Nursing home surveyors work for government agencies and visit nursing homes to determine if each facility is complying with State licensure regulations and Federal Medicare and Medicaid regulations. These yearly surveyor visits happen on a regular schedule or if it’s necessary because of complaints or reports of abuse and neglect. There are a few consequences to violating regulations. Namely, as a result of a poor surveyor report, the nursing home can lose state or federal funding, their Medicaid and Medicare certifications can be revoked, residents can be removed from the facility, and temporary management can be instated until the issues are resolved.

Surveyors are often responsible for investigating the overall quality of the nursing home and keeping nursing homes accountable, making them essential personnel in the detection and reporting of abuse and neglect. 

Well educated and trained nursing home surveyors can better know what to look for, what to report, and how to address the problem areas that have worsened over the past few years. 

The New Guidance & Training Areas

Surveyors now have clear guidance and training when it comes to the following areas:

  • Abuse and neglect investigations;
  • Admission, transfer, and discharge rights;
  • Mental health and substance abuse disorders;
  • The inappropriate diagnosis of schizophrenia;
  • The use of certain medications;
  • Infection control;
  • Arbitration agreements;
  • Revisions to the complaint investigation process; and
  • Revisions to the Psychosocial Outcome Severity Guide.

Throughout the survey process, the surveyor team notes adherence to fire and safety policies, distribution of medications protocol, patient care standards, nursing home records, dietary practices, and more. They are also able to interview residents and staff to compare accounts and verbal reports to the data and reported by the nursing home itself. Adding to and updating the areas surveyors focus on will only provide a more thorough and complete report, encouraging nursing homes to raise and maintain a high level of care in all areas.

All of these changes to the nursing home surveyor guidance and training will be fully implemented as of October 2022. We look forward to better living conditions and more thorough abuse reporting as we move towards eradicating abuse.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, call Gharibian Law (877-875-1119) for a free consultation and the best legal representation!