The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended timeline requirements for reporting direct staffing data in skilled nursing facilities. The extension is part of a series of blanket waivers to CMS requirements that is designed to relieve bureaucratic stress on SNF staff as they implement infection control programs to combat the COVID-19 outbreak and protect residents.
Under CMS regulations, skilled nursing facilities are normally required to report information on direct staff anyone responsible for the hands-on care of residents to the CMS in a uniform format at least quarterly. The waiver applies to data pulled and submitted electronically to CMS through the Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) system.
The reporting requirements whose timelines are being waived include:
- The work category for each direct-care staff member
- Resident census data
- Staff tenure and turnover
- The number of care hours performed by each staff member per day
- Designation of direct-care staff as facility employee, agency worker or independent contractor
Skilled nursing facilities that are overwhelmed by their response to COVID-19 infection or prevention do not have to submit paperwork to take advantaged of the relaxed timeline for reporting direct staffing data. Because the timeline extension was part of a blanket waiver by the agency, it automatically goes into effect for all skilled nursing facilities. The measure, which was announced on April 24, is good for 60 days. That timeframe could be extended based on the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The extended deadlines for reporting staffing numbers do not apply to data that was due to CMS for its April reports. That data should have been collected before a public health emergency was declared on Jan. 31.
The timeline extension was part of a large series of blanket waivers issued by CMS to help skilled nursing facilities better address and cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
Director, CMS Quality Safety & Oversight Group, April 24, 2020, memorandum to State Survey Agency Directors. https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-28-nh.pdf
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