CMS resumes validation survey oversight

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is resuming validation survey oversight activities that were paused during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). Historically, state survey agencies performed accrediting organization (AO) validation surveys to ensure the AOs were consistently and accurately surveying deemed providers and suppliers for compliance with Medicare health and safety requirements. To help tackle a backlog of validation surveys caused by the PHE, CMS has engaged national contract surveyors to help complete this work, using a direct observation validation survey process.

The Joint Commission aligns revisions with CMS

As part of its review to align with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Conditions of Participation, The Joint Commission recently announced that it has adopted some of the same revisions made to its critical access hospital program in August for its hospital program. The hospital program revisions go into effect Jan. 1, 2024. The changes include new elements of performance to address the expectation for compliance with the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, and NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code; and revisions to the Environment of Care chapter pertaining to alternative equipment maintenance programs.

CMS updates surveyor guidance on ligature risk

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued updated regulatory guidance regarding requirements for hospitals to assess patients and hospital environments for patient harm risks. The guidance will influence how surveyors evaluate hospital compliance with the Medicare Conditions of Participation specific to ligature risk and assessment in hospitals. The updated guidance affects CMS 42 CFR §482.13(c)(2) Condition of Participation: Patient’s rights; and CMS 42 CFR §482.41(a) Condition of Participation: Physical environment. The guidance seeks to clarify the need for ligature-resistant environments based on an individual patient’s risk assessment, staffing/monitoring and environmental risk. 

OCCHE releases guide for IRA funds

The Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) developed and released a tool called the Quickfinder for Leveraging the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for the Health Sector. The resource is meant to help health care stakeholders take advantage of the opportunities for resilience and emissions reduction included in the legislation. The IRA, which was signed into law in 2022, provides billions of dollars in grants, loan programs and tax credits that can help transform the health care field by significantly increasing access to funds to help create resilient and renewable infrastructure. This document describes the general types of investments the legislation can help fund for health care stakeholders, including on-site renewable energy.