Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) across the country are taking steps to satisfy new requirements that are mandated by the recently enacted Improving Medicare Post-Acute Transformation Act, or IMPACT Act. SNFs that fall under the Act’s jurisdiction should do their best to make sure that they are in compliance in order to avoid any penalties. In addition to ensuring their compliance with the Act, nursing homes and other senior living communities who are seeking capital for growth or other purposes should contact Cambridge Realty Capital to learn more about the different financing options that it offers.
The IMPACT Act
The IMPACT Act standardizes assessments for critical care issues across different post-acute care providers in an effort to increase efficiencies and improve patient care. It also addresses concerns regarding faulty staffing information from nursing homes by encouraging them to voluntarily turn over this information to CMS so that the agency can help ensure that they staffed properly. CMS is still developing the data collection system that will be used for the Act. Before it launches it, it wants make sure that it can capture everyone that works at a SNF, including contract and agency employees. Also, the information does not need to come directly from skilled nursing facilities. CMS is also willing to accept data from payroll vendors for nursing homes that would prefer to give them the information that way instead.
Before the IMPACT Act, providers self-reported staffing information to the government once a year. This led to charges that nursing homes were inflating these figures in order to make it look like they were staffing their facilities at a greater level than they were. The goal behind the IMPACT Act is to stop this practice where it is occurring and to gain a better understanding of how staffing patterns fluctuate during the year, particularly during periods when occupancy fluctuates significantly and during holidays as well.
The publishing of incorrect information by nursing homes is a growing concern of the government’s for some time. In addition to taking steps to address this through the IMPACT Act, the government also made changes to its Five Star rating system to ensure that the data it uses to determine its ratings for nursing homes are accurate. For example, nursing homes will now be subjected to Five Star audits in order to ensure that the information they are presenting for the program is accurate. Lastly, once CMS’s data collection program up and running, it will be administered as a pilot before a nationwide rollout. This will most likely take place sometime in 2016.