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CMS Announces Streamlined Survey and Certification Process for Psychiatric Hospitals

For COOs, licensing & certification staff

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a streamlined survey and certification process — to begin in March — for psychiatric hospitals, with the goal of ensuring efficient hospital inspections that protect patients while reducing burden for providers.  

Currently, psychiatric hospitals surveyed by state surveys agencies (SSAs) are subject to two separate onsite compliance surveys: one by the SSA for compliance with the hospital requirements and one by an outside contractor selected by the SSA for compliance with two additional psychiatric hospital standards (in California, the SSA is the California Department of Public Health).

Under the new process — part of CMS’ “Patients Over Paperwork” initiative — CMS will implement a streamlined process for psychiatric hospitals to receive one comprehensive hospital survey performed by the SSA to review compliance with both hospital and psychiatric hospital participation requirements, allowing inspectors to take a broader view of a psychiatric hospital’s operations and better identify systemic quality issues.

CMS is notifying hospitals, SSAs, and psychiatric hospital stakeholders of the upcoming change through a memorandum. The change does not affect accreditation organizations’ current methodologies for approving hospitals or psychiatric hospitals, or CMS’s criteria for approving accreditation organizations to survey such facilities.

To ensure states are appropriately prepared to begin conducting these surveys in March 2020, CMS is developing an online training that will be released soon.