Updates to Appendix Z includes clarification on emergency preparedness and home health citations

In a memo from CMS dated February 1, 2019, the agency announced updates to Appendix Z of the State Operations Manual to reflect changes to the definition of an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness, new home health agency citations, and clarifications under alternative source power and emergency standby systems.
Updates include the following:

CMS is adding “emerging infectious diseases” to the current definition of all-hazards approach. After review, CMS determined it was critical for facilities to include …

Feds increase fines for bloodborne pathogens, other workplace hazards

Source: Home Health Line
Fines for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations have been adjusted for inflation. A pre-publication version of the U.S. Department of Labor’s final rule increasing the civil monetary penalties was posted Jan. 15.
Fines that fall in the categories of serious and other-than-serious and posting requirements will go up from a maximum penalty of $12,934 per violation to $13,260 per violation, while failure-to-abate violations will go up the same amount per day.
Yes, …

CMS extends its staffing exemption for hospices through 2020

Source: Home Health Line
Hospices battling the ongoing nursing shortage have two additional years to use contract nurses due to “extraordinary circumstances,” CMS has announced.
“This designation enables those hospice agencies, which are unable to provide a sufficient number of nursing staff directly to meet the needs of its patients due to the national shortage, to utilize contracted staff in addition to their full-time nursing staff,” the director of CMS’ Quality, Safety and Oversight group wrote in …

Federal judge finds Obamacare unconstitutional; law remains in effect pending further decisions

Source: Home Health Line
A federal judge has ruled that the entirety of the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare is unconstitutional, though he did not order a remedy and an appeal is already being assembled.
Texas v. United States was filed in February in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief from the ACA on several grounds, including that, in its 2012 National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) v. Sebelius …