I'm writing to alert you of recent changes at CMS related to the government shutdown and their efforts to combat fraud and abuse that may affect organizations seeking accreditation with deemed status.
Although Medicare payments to providers are expected to continue during the government shutdown, delays in payments are possible depending on how long CMS staff or contractors are affected.
However, because the CMS Regional Offices (RO) are closed until further notice, there may be a delay in the CHAP accreditation process for organizations seeking deemed status. As part of the accreditation process, after a site visit, CHAP submits all findings and a recommendation for deeming to the CMS RO. The RO then makes the final determination for Medicare Certification. Only after the CMS RO accepts CHAP's recommendation is an organization accepted into the Medicare program.
Due to the shutdown, initial applicants seeking deemed status may encounter a delay in receiving approval from the RO to participate in the Medicare program as well as being issued a CMS Certification Number (CCN). Because CMS RO personnel are not permitted to work, CHAP recommendations cannot be processed until the shutdown is over.
For renewing organizations, there may also be a delay in the certification process. Home care organizations who have recently been surveyed or are scheduled to be surveyed in the near-term may find that their deeming dates are set to expire before CMS Regional Office personnel return to work, and can process CHAP's recommendation for those surveys. CHAP is seeking clarification from CMS so that we may provide guidance to the affected organizations.
CMS has provided guidance on activities that are and are not supported during the shutdown. A summary of this information is available on the CHAP website Breaking News Alerts page. We will continue to provide information and guidance regarding the shutdown as it is available.
Additionally, CHAP is seeing an increased number of Condition level findings and focus visits for both initial and renewing organizations. As a result of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and CMS efforts to combat fraud and abuse, CMS has recently provided CHAP guidance to more strictly interpret the Conditions of Participation, as it relates to areas such as the Professional Advisory Committee, staff competencies and the plan of care. It is important that all organizations seeking accreditation with deemed status visit the CHAP Breaking News Alerts page and review compliance strategies to avoid frequently cited Standard and Condition level findings in these areas.
CMS has also provided additional guidance for organizations affected by the recent CMS moratoria for new Home Health providers in Illinois and Florida. This information and frequently asked questions (FAQ) can also be found on the Breaking Alerts page on the CHAP website.
We will continue to update the Breaking News Alerts page as additional information is available. Please make sure you are subscribed to the CHAP eNews Weekly and please forward this email to anyone in your organization involved in the CHAP accreditation process.
As always, should you have any questions, please contact your Customer Relations Representative or Regional Director of Professional Services.
Thank you for your continued commitment to demonstrating quality through CHAP accreditation during this challenging time for home health and hospice providers.
A message from Barbara Muntz, RN, MTS, Senior Vice President of Accreditation