Home Health & Hospice

CMS Issues Revised State Operations Manual

Homecare Insider, March 7, 2011

On February 11, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an advance copy of the revised Appendix B of the State Operations Manual (SOM) to state survey agency directors. Appendix B of the SOM provides survey protocols and guidance for surveys conducted on home health agencies. The SOM serves an essential use to homecare agencies as they should utilize it to prepare for survey. Also included in the SOM are the forms that surveyors use.

The revisions include:
  • A change in the definition of a standard survey, which was revised with focus on standards that most directly relate to patient care processes
  • More specific guidelines for expansion of standard surveys to partial extended or extended surveys
  • Added guidance for issuing deficiency citations
  • Updated Interpretive Guidelines
  • Changes related to the Conditions of Participation and additional CMS policies since the last release

The revised SOM reveals that CMS has developed a survey process that is data-driven and patient-outcome oriented as opposed to structure and process oriented. The new survey protocols and guidelines will become effective on May 1 and CMS plans to train surveyors during March and April. It’s important for homecare providers to remember that this is an advance copy and the final copy may differ. For example, the forms are not included in the advance copy. 

Find the advance copy of the manual update here.