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CMS Plans National Quality Indicator Survey implementation

MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media, August 19, 2009

Eleven states are currently at various points in the Quality Indicator Survey (QIS) implementation process, and CMS has announced that the rollout will continue with each remaining state (and the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico) required to initiate training and eventually employ the QIS in full.

The QIS is a highly structured two-stage survey that changes the process by which nursing facilities are surveyed. The QIS doesn't change the purpose or ground rules for nursing home surveys, but it does give a more insightful approach to address and improve potential quality issues.

CMS plans to rollout the QIS implementation process in bands, and Delaware, Maine, Vermont, Georgia, and Arizona, which make up band one, are scheduled to begin training this year. Remaining states are grouped into five other bands and will be phased into the QIS process over time as resources allow, according to the Survey and Certification Letter CMS released on August 7.

State survey agencies are encouraged to prepare for QIS implementation by gathering background information that may be useful in educating staff, developing a training schedule, and reviewing QIS training protocol. The training process lasts four weeks for each group of surveyors and consists of classroom and fieldwork segments. Once training begins, a state is expected to fully implement the QIS within three years.

To read CMS' Survey and Certification Letter regarding the QIS rollout, visit the Resources page of MDSCentral.


MacKenzie Kimball is an associate editor in the long-term care market at HCPro. She writes PPS Alert for Long-term Care and manages MDSCentral.

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