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DOH Provides Updates for Nursing Home Providers

Last week, LeadingAge NY and other long term care provider associations met with the Department of Health (DOH) to discuss various nursing home issues.

Infection Control Survey

The Department shared that they are trying to provide a more targeted request to facilitate compliance with the infection control checklist required for nursing homes. They will issue more guidance on this. Essentially, they are trying to narrow the information that is being submitted.

Letters have been sent out regarding compliance with this reporting. Responders have 30 days to comply. Members should note that DOH is using Health Commerce System (HCS) information to generate the letters, and they again urge providers to ensure that their HCS roles are populated and up to date.

LeadingAge NY asked to review the guidance and notices prior to their release to ensure clarity for providers, but the Department does not want to delay the process. We subsequently again provided feedback regarding our concerns about the process, including that:

  • the survey tool is written in a way that suggests old COVID guidance is still in effect.
  • DOH has not disclosed their expectations or the metrics that facilities must meet under these audits, so facilities are left to guess what would constitute a satisfactory response.
  • the Department still has not addressed the issue that users cannot save their work within the survey as sections are completed.

Complaint Outlier Project 

DOH has been examining nursing home complaints given a significant increase in complaints. The Department will be identifying trends in complaints and facility-reported incidents. In looking at the data, DOH is taking into consideration outlier facility volume of complaints that are significant compared to other similarly sized facilities, both regionally and statewide. They will be doing outreach with outlier facilities, with an emphasis on working with them to have complaints resolved at the facility level. The Department’s goal is to reduce complaints and improve outcomes.

The Department stated that their engagement with outlier facilities will be nonpunitive in nature and will include discussions with facility leadership and an internal review of facility grievance policies, communication, and review of the quality assurance/performance improvement (QAPI) process. This effort will not replace ongoing survey activity. The project will include a review of data for all nursing homes. Subsets of information will include population types, corporate structure, bed capacity, facility-reported complaints, historic information, regional information, and more. This information will be included in a data product tool under development. An internal dashboard will provide real-time data and will only be used by DOH internally.

The Department stated that their outreach to facilities has already started and has proven successful. Members are encouraged to let LeadingAge NY know if they receive DOH outreach on this effort and how we can assist.

Contact: Diane Darbyshire, ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8828