The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule on September 28, 2016, comprehensively updating and extensively revising the requirements for participation (ROPs) for long-term care (LTC) facilities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs (the Final Rule). As the first major update to the requirements for LTC facilities in 25 years, the Final Rule will have a dramatic impact on LTC facility operations and finances. The Final Rule adopts numerous changes to the existing ROPs proposed in the July 16, 2015 proposed rule, and also includes various revisions to the proposed rule, in particular, modifications to the staffing and training requirements, care planning rules, infection prevention and control program provisions, and the prohibition on facilities’ use of pre-dispute arbitration agreements.

This discussion is not new here on the blog – we previously blogged about it here, as well as on our Health Industry Washington Watch blog. CMS reports that it received nearly 10,000 public comments on the proposed rule. In response to comments regarding the cost and resources required to achieve compliance with these significant new requirements, CMS will phase-in implementation in three phases. Phase One, which includes many of the health and safety requirements, must be implemented by the effective date of the regulations, November 28, 2016. Phase Two and Phase Three require compliance by one year and three years, respectively, from the effective date of the Final Rule (i.e., November 28, 2017 and November 28, 2019).