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Cms Ends Emergency Waiver - Nursing Home Staffing Data Due August 14

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) — which oversees the Nursing Home Compare website and the Five Star Quality Rating System — has announced that it’s ending its current emergency waiver and requiring all nursing homes to submit staffing data through the Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) system by August 14, 2020.

CMS had previously waived a number of regulatory requirements so that facilities could focus on the serious health and safety threats associated with COVID-19. As a result, many nursing home providers didn’t submit staffing data for Quarter 1 (January-March) of 2020 — which means CMS wasn’t able to adjust staffing star ratings at its regularly scheduled July update. For now, staffing ratings on Nursing Home Compare are held over from Quarter 4 (October-December) of 2019.

However, if a facility’s staffing rating was downgraded to one star in Quarter 4 — because they either missed the submission deadline or reported four or more days with no registered nurse — that downgrade has been removed, and the facility’s ratings have been temporarily suppressed. This gives them the opportunity to improve their staffing rating for Quarter 2 (April-June), since they weren’t able to for Quarter 1.

With the lifting of the emergency waiver, all nursing homes must now submit their staffing data for Quarter 2 through the PBJ system by August 14. CMS will update staffing ratings based on this data in October.

As for inspection ratings, CMS says they are continuing to monitor the situation and will resume them as soon as possible. The organization remains “committed to transparency about changes in publicly reported information on nursing homes during the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

You can read the full June 25 memo from the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality/Quality, Safety, and Oversight Group here.

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