In July 2019, CMS published a proposed rule that would modify the Compliance and Ethics program aspects of the Phase III Long-Term Care Facilities Requirements for Participation (the “Proposed Rule”).
Some of these proposed modifications removed requirements to assign compliance roles to nursing home personnel. For example, CMS proposes eliminating the following requirements:
- All nursing homes must designate “an appropriate compliance and ethics program contact to which individuals may report suspected violations.”
- Chains of five or more nursing homes must designate a compliance officer for whom the compliance program “is a major responsibility.”
- Chains of five or more nursing homes must designate compliance liaisons at each facility.
If made final, the changes will go into effect one year after the rule goes into effect.
CMS’ proposed removal of the compliance officer, compliance liaison, and compliance reports contact requirements might have some nursing homes jumping for joy. After all, fewer regulatory requirements likely means fewer F-tags on your state survey. While we can likely all agree that fewer F-tags are a good thing, nursing homes would be wise to designate someone as compliance officer.
Keep in mind that the Proposed Rule has not yet been made final, and, as of November 28, 2019, SNFs are expected to comply with the original Phase 3 compliance requirements at 42 CFR 483.85. But, what if the Proposed Rule becomes final?