The CMS now requires surveyors to complete a template when documenting instances of immediate jeopardy in an effort to better identify and resolve harm against patients at facilities.
In a blog post on Tuesday, CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced revisions to the guidance surveyors use to spot immediate jeopardy, requiring them to fill out a three-question template that describes the incident. The template is then shared with the facility so they have the information necessary to resolve the issue immediately.
Verma said the changes come from recent media attention surrounding harm at facilities. "Despite stringent safeguards, alarming stories continue to be reported about people, including some of our most vulnerable individuals, who have experienced harm in healthcare settings that is devastating to these patients and their families."
In recent months, an employee at a nursing home in Phoenix made national headlines after he was accused of raping a patient in a vegetative state. The facility announced it is closing. And just last month, immediate jeopardy was placed on Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, for deficiencies. Late last year, the Tampa Bay Times reported on the hospital's above-average death rates for pediatric heart surgeries.
In addition to the template, the CMS made other revisions to the immediate jeopardy guidance. The agency removed "culpability" as a required component for immediate jeopardy and instead the surveyor need only focus on areas of noncompliance. Psychological harm can also now be a consideration used to determine immediate jeopardy.
The CMS is currently offering online training to surveyors on the changes.