Muña said she expects another extension
The prospective date earlier set for the termination of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s Medicare provider agreement has come and gone but there is still no news on when the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would do their resurvey.
Last April, CMS put off to Oct. 30, 2015, its decision on the hospital’s Condition of Participation, or CoP, with Medicare.
In a recent interview, CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña said she will be calling CMS to find out the status of the hospital.
No validation survey or resurvey was made by CMS prior to the expiration. Muña said this could be because of the delay in the passage of the federal budget or because of the disaster that the CNMI went through with Typhoon Soudelor in August.
“Usually right after a disaster, they don’t really come in. I think that’s just out of respect. I think that’s what they’re doing,” Muña said.
However, Muña said they still need to come back and do a resurvey.
“My understanding is, it is required or necessary that when a survey was done and basically findings were made, then it is required that after we submit a plan of correction, which was accepted, that they need to come back and resurvey,” Muña said.
She doesn’t know when they’re going back to do a resurvey but that they anticipate them coming in next year.
“My prediction is sometime in January,” Muña said.
With the date passed, Muña said she expects CMS to grant them an extension.
“What has happened in the past is that whenever they can’t come at a certain time and the expiration date is just approaching, what they do is basically go ahead and extend it,” Muña said.
She sees no reason for CMS not to extend the hospital’s recertification.
Despite CMS not coming to do the survey, Muña said the hospital is still trying to do everything that they are supposed to do like updating their policies, and education and training is being done.
“That’s what we’ve been doing. Basically, what CHCC has been doing is to try to make sure that whatever plan of correction we said we were going to do, that it’s happening,” Muña said.
She said there are also certain things that happened during the disaster that they would like to include in their policies, one of which is about taking care of special needs patients.
“The things that have occurred post-disaster, we want to be able to make sure that those are incorporated into our policies and we need to make sure that it still meets the standard of care that Medicare wants us to implement and enforce,” Muña said.
In September 2014, CMS found the hospital non-compliant with seven CoPs. They extended the hospital’s CoP with Medicare up to April 3 before it was again extended to Oct. 30.