Nursing Facilities May Request CMP Funds Due to COVID-19 Expenses

Thoughtware Alert Apr 30, 2020
Nurse and Patient

The Center for Clinical Standards and Quality/Quality, Safety & Oversight Group (QSO) issued directive QSO-20-28-NH on April 24, 2020, that included guidance for resources available to nursing homes to help with expenses related to virtual visits between residents and family.  

The QSO is CMS’ enforcement, certification and regulatory branch that oversees the survey process done by individual state agencies. QSO-20-28-NH reaffirmed CMS’ commitment to ensuring nursing homes are prepared to respond to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the incidence of COVID-19 by taking critical steps. These steps include surveys being suspended with exception to complaints related to “immediate jeopardy” and focused infection control surveys, the inspection domain of the five-star rating on Nursing Home Compare being temporarily maintained and held constant and CMS publishing average nursing staff and resident count and frequently asked questions (FAQ). Please review QSO-20-14-NH, QSO-20-12-All, QSO-20-20-All and COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers for further guidance.

The FAQ answered questions related to the various CMS waivers of federal requirements, guidance on visitation and individuals entering and leaving facilities, COVID-19 guidance for state and local governments and prioritization of survey activities.

The answer to question 3 of the FAQ indicated that civil money penalty (CMP) funds may be requested for purchase of communicative devices used to help residents stay connected to family and loved ones. To ensure balanced distribution of funds, application to use CMP funds for communication devices is limited to purchasing one device per seven to 10 residents with a limit of $3,000 per facility. 

To be considered for funding, each application must include this information: 

  • Names of facilities to receive devices (and CMS Certification Numbers)
  • Total number of residents in facilities, e.g., average daily census 
  • Types of devices (brand and model) 
  • Cost per device 
  • Total number of devices requested 
  • Total funds requested 

Requested funds also can be used for reasonable accessories, such as screen protectors and device covers, but the total cost must remain under $3,000. In addition, residents can use these devices to attend telehealth visits with physicians or other practitioners.

CMS requires states to maintain adequate CMP funds for emergency situations, so states may not have enough funds for all nursing facilities or even some facilities. Several states have issued guidance to request CMP funds for communication devices. Nursing facilities should contact their state agency's CMP contact

As with most topics related to COVID-19, changes are being made rapidly. Please note that this information is current as of the date of publication. For more information, reach out to your BKD Trusted Advisor™, visit our COVID-19 Resource Center or submit the Contact Us form below.

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