Joint Commission Resources Opens CMS Practice

Hospitals and long-term care organizations can now receive assistance from former state or federal surveyors with experience evaluating the requirements of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) through a new CMS Practice consulting program offered by Joint Commission Resources (JCR).

CMS administers the Medicare program which requires surveys of healthcare organizations to evaluate their compliance with federal requirements. In order for healthcare organizations to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs they must comply with the federal conditions of participation. JCR is offering this consulting service in response to requests for assistance from several organizations that were struggling to comply with the requirements of the Medicare program including some that had been notified by their state or CMS that they were not compliant with all Medicare conditions of participation and therefore would be receiving an unannounced visit from CMS or state agency surveyors on behalf of CMS for a follow-up evaluation.

JCR’s CMS Practice is led by Michelle McDonald, RN, MPH, a healthcare professional with more than 30 years of experience including work with CMS. McDonald has managed several federal contracts, served as a Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility Technical Advisory Panel Member, presented at national seminars, coordinated and developed national satellite presentations with CMS on various aspects of the Federal Code of Regulations and Program Integrity, and has provided guidance to representatives of state, federal and professional regulatory agencies on interpreting and complying with healthcare regulations.

At JCR, McDonald has served as a project director for the CMS Data Assessment and Verification program; served as the project director for the Federal Monitoring and Oversight in Long Term Care Program; and she provides guidance, education and technical assistance in the provision of CMS content, federal laws, regulations, guidelines, federal surveillance protocols and standards governing the operation of healthcare facilities.

“The complexities of the ongoing and continually changing Medicare survey process, regulations and requirements for participating in the Medicare program and preparing responses to CMS inquiries remains a challenge for many healthcare facilities today,” McDonald says. “We have helped several facilities already with their preparations for meeting federal requirements, including providing help during their survey, and with preparing their responses to CMS. These are all phases of the consulting process.”

JCR’s CMS Practice includes eight additional consultants, all of whom have extensive state or federal experience as surveyors in hospitals, critical access hospitals, long term care organizations, ambulatory surgical centers, home health agencies, and hospices.
The CMS Practice suite includes consulting, custom education, webinars; and CMS Access, an online resource tool that includes CMS forms, checklists and news alerts from CMS and other government agencies on a daily basis.

Organizations needing help with CMS readiness and participation in the Medicare program may choose from several products and services offered in the JCR CMS practice, including:

  • • Consulting services – available prior to survey, onsite during survey, and after survey to respond to and create plans of correction;
  • • Custom education – to improve staff readiness and compliance, hosted at the organization’s facility;
  • • Webinars and publications – addressing crosswalks to Joint Commission Standards, filing a 2567 and much more; and
  • • CMS Access – an online resource that connects users to up-to-date CMS guidelines, transmittals, interactive forms and daily alerts.

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