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 CMS Extends Comment Deadline For 'Competence-Based' Rules

Washington, D.C.—Federal regulators on Friday extended the deadline for public comments on proposals to create a sweeping set of “competence-based” rules for America’s long term care centers.
 
In a five-page order published in the Federal Register, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says it has been asked by advocacy groups to extend the comment period for the rulemaking notice, which was scheduled to close Monday.
 
“Because of the scope of the proposed rule, and since we have specifically requested the public’s comments on various aspects of the rule, we believe that it is important to allow ample time for the public to prepare comments on this proposed rule,” Friday's order says.
 
The new deadline is Oct. 14 at 5 p.m., EST.
 
The rulemaking notice was announced—with much fanfare—at the 5th White House Conference on Aging, in July. The Obama administration itself heralded the proposed rules as the “most sweeping” changes to long term and post-acute care regulation in a generation.
 
In the days since, provider advocates have swamped CMS with comments—most of them in the negative. The overall feeling among advocates appears to be that, while the principles behind the rulemaking are sound, the rules themselves focus more on good paperwork than on good outcomes.
 
As of Friday morning, provider advocates had posted more than 4,700 comments on the proposed rules, American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living Senior Director for Grassroots and Member Advocacy Matthew Smyth tells ProviderMagazine.com.
 
Smyth says he’s glad that CMS is taking a longer look at its proposals.
 
“It’s a great sign that CMS is willing to listen to all concerns,” he says. “It’s an even better sign that so many residents, frontline caregivers, and other advocates have been willing and able to express those concerns. We all want long term care to work for everyone, and the more voices heard, the better the outcomes will be.”
 
Bill Myers is Provider’s senior editor. Email him at wmyers@providermagazine.com. Follow him on Twitter, @ProviderMyers.
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