Where Does the Money Go?
Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes are frequently required to pay fines (called “civil money penalties” or “CMPs”) to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) when government surveyors find them out of compliance with the Requirements for Participation for Long-Term Care Facilities. It is not uncommon for CMS to assess CMPs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nursing homes sometimes protest that the money would be better spent by them in improving their operations to fix current non-compliance and avoid future non-compliance. On November 21, 2018, CMS announced a new initiative that it claims will promote these goals.
CMS is instituting the Civil Money Penalty Reinvestment Program (CMPRP), which is a three year initiative to use part of collected CMPs to create tools and practical advice for nursing homes to use to improve the quality of resident life and care. CMS plans to develop a variety of work products for nursing home professionals, such as staff competency assessment tools, instructional guides, training webinars and technical assistance seminars. The goal is to help staff reduce adverse events, improve dementia care and strengthen staffing quality. CMS is partnering with industry experts to develop these products.
To date, CMS has developed and published one such toolkit, and promises additional ones by the summer. The currently available toolkit is the “Nursing Home Staff Competency Assessment.” The competency assessment is designed to identify areas where nursing homes do well and where they might need support. The toolkit is available for download.
CMS is certainly to be applauded for its commitment to quality of resident care and life in nursing homes. Hopefully, using collected CMPs to assist nursing homes to implement new processes/procedures will have a positive impact on quality improvement.