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July 19, 2022

In this Issue:

  1. Reference Guide and Webinar on CMS's Updated Nursing Home Guidance
  2. HHS OIG Audit Finds Noncompliance with Life Safety and Emergency Preparedness Requirements, Makes Recommendations to CMS
  3. New 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
  4. NORC Virtual Office Hour
  5. Consumer Voice Seeking Fall Interns

Reference Guide and Webinar on CMS's Updated Nursing Home Guidance

On June 29, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released much awaited Phase 3 guidance along with updated Phase 2 guidance. The guidance was issued as the result of 2016 revisions to the Medicare Requirements for Participation for Nursing Homes. Due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS is only now releasing the last set of guidance, which was originally scheduled to be released in 2019.

The Phase 3 Guidance offers significant updates to the requirements state oversight agencies must follow when surveying and assessing a nursing home’s compliance with the federal regulations. These areas include:

  • Visitation
  • Staffing
  • Abuse and Neglect of Residents
  • Transfer and Discharge Rights
  • Infection Control
  • Resident Assessments

The guidance to state oversight agencies is 847 pages. CMS has highlighted the updated text in red. Consumer Voice has created a Reference Guide and summary to help consumers understand and access this updated guidance.

Join us for a webinar this Wednesday, July 20th at 3:00pm ET.

Consumer Voice along with representatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be providing an overview of CMS's new Phase 3 guidance for nursing homes. The guidance is required to be followed by state oversight agencies when surveying and assessing nursing home compliance with the federal regulations.

Register Now

HHS OIG Audit Finds Noncompliance with Life Safety and Emergency Preparedness Requirements, Makes Recommendations to CMS

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report - Audits of Nursing Home Life Safety and Emergency Preparedness in Eight States Identified Noncompliance with Federal Requirements and Opportunites for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to Improve Resident, Visitor and Staff Safety.  Beginning in 2018, OIG conducted a series of audits in eight states to assess compliance with CMS's new life safety and emergency preparedness requirements.  In the recent audit, OIG summarized the findings from the previous audits and identified opportunities and developed recommendations to help CMS address deficiencies identified during the audits and improve resident, visitor, and staff safety.

OIG identified 1,094 areas of noncompliance with life safety requirements and 1,139 areas of noncompliance with emergency preparedness requirements at 150 of the 154 nursing homes visited. These deficiencies occurred because of several factors, including inadequate oversight by management, staff turnover, inadequate oversight by State survey agencies, and a lack of any requirement for mandatory participation in standardized life safety training programs.

OIG made several recommendations to CMS to improve safety including:

  • Requiring nursing homes to install carbon monoxide detectors;
  • Improving support for State survey operations and nursing home training;
  • Working with State survey agencies to address issues preventing more frequent surveys of high-risk facilities; and
  • Requiring mandatory participation in standardized nursing home staff training.

CMS generally agreed with OIG's recommendations.

Read the full report.

New 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The 988 Lifeline is designed to become a simple alternative to both 911 and the existing 1-800 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number.  One of the goals of the new number is to reduce the use of 911 for suicide and mental health crises.  Calling 911 in such situations can result in inadequate or inappropriate intervention by the police, or unnecessary hospitalization or incarceration. Calling 988 instead will direct the caller to representatives specifically trained in the management of suicide risk and other mental health crises.  

NORC Virtual Office Hour

The National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) is hosting a virtual open office hour the last Wednesday of each month starting in July at 2:00 pm ET. This is an opportunity to ask questions, share information, and have open conversations.

The focus will be on volunteer management for the first few months. However, these Zoom calls do not include a structured presentation and are open to all State Ombudsmen and their program representatives. These calls will not be recorded and do not require registration.

NOTE: Limited space is available.

Use this Zoom link to attend.

Consumer Voice Seeking Fall Interns

Consumer Voice is seeking a Graduate/Law Student Public Policy Intern for the Fall semester.  This is a dynamic and exciting internship opportunity during which students will get hands on policy and advocacy experience with a well-established nonprofit.  The position requires a time commitment of 20-25 hours per week. There is a stipend offered for this internship, and we are happy to assist students in receiving academic credit for their internship. Candidates must be enrolled in a graduate degree program and have exceptional writing and computer skills, research knowledge, and willingness to work on a wide range of projects.

Applications are due August 15th.  Please share this opportunity with anyone interested.

Learn more about how to apply.

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