NAHC has received numerous inquiries regarding the status of the new Medicare Home Health Conditions of Participation that have an effective date of January 13, 2018. Most questions focus on the fact that CMS has yet to issue the final Interpretive Guidelines.
Despite the absence of final Interpretive Guidelines, the effective date of the new CoPs will remain January 13, 2018. CMS continues to work on the Interpretive Guidelines. In a message from CMS received earlier today, David R. Wright, Director, Quality, Safety & Oversight Group (QSOG) indicates that:
1. Surveyors will use the draft Interpretive Guidelines until the final version is issued
2. The final version is expected to be much in line with the draft
3. The actual CoP regulation, not the guidelines control survey determinations
4. Both the regulations and the guidelines offer flexibility on compliance with CMS removing “guidance that may have been overly prescriptive”
NAHC recommends that HHAs undertake a good faith effort to achieve compliance with the regulations by January 13. Survey management should focus on the regulations over any guidance issued in draft by CMS. If an HHA is cited for a deficiency, but believes that its conduct complied with the applicable regulation, NAHC advises that the HHA bring the CMS Regional Office into the matter and to convey the incident to NAHC as well. It is anticipated that CMS and surveyors will approach the early stages of the new CoP surveys with an openness rather than a “cookbook” approach to compliance where there is only path to compliance.
Home Care Association of Washington
Vancouver, WA 98665