CMS streamlines survey process for psychiatric hospitals

CMS is launching a streamlined survey and certification process for psychiatric hospitals, beginning in March.

Psychiatric hospitals now undergo two separate on-site compliance surveys, one by the state survey agency to ensure compliance with the hospital requirements and one by an outside contractor selected by the state survey agency to ensure compliance with standards specific to psychiatric hospitals.

The new process will be more streamlined, with psychiatric hospitals receiving one comprehensive hospital survey, conducted by the state survey agency, which will review compliance with both hospital and psychiatric hospital requirements.

The streamlining of the survey process aims to "reduce burden and improve oversight and patient safety, and [reduce] unnecessary administrative costs," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

The new process will evaluate psychiatric hospital services in the context of the overall hospital survey program, allowing surveyors and providers to identify and correct systemic quality issues, and it reduces the regulatory burden on psychiatric hospitals by requiring them to undergo only one survey.

CMS also is developing an online training for states to ensure they are prepared to begin conducting the single surveys in March.

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