CMS to remain flexible with surveys if hospitals experience COVID-19 surge

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In response to a request from the American Hospital Association, CMS said it will consider temporary survey suspensions for hospitals experiencing COVID-19 surges. 

While the national hospital survey suspension expired March 23, 2021, "we recognize that there may be some hospitals experiencing a community-level COVID-19 surge that could adversely impact their operations and ability to accommodate an onsite compliance survey," the CMS said in a June 15 letter. 

The agency said it will consider notification or request for assistance, the proportion of a hospital's staff and resources dedicated to caring for COVID-19 patients, and activation of an emergency preparedness plan in determining whether to issue temporary suspensions on survey activities. 

"Hospitals in these circumstances should notify their State Survey Agency as soon as possible, who will then coordinate with their CMS location to consider a short-term, hospital-specific survey suspension," the letter said. "This communication should be prior to any survey activity. Once surveyors are onsite at the hospital, they will not be recalled." 

Temporary suspensions will not apply to complaint surveys that allege immediate threat to patient health and safety, CMS said. 


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