Regulatory Update

Reducing Unnecessary Medication Use is Challenging. How to Get Started and How Polaris Can Help

November 28, 2022
March 14, 2023
Polaris Group
March 14, 2023

Now is the time to focus on your facility’s policies and procedures. In this blog, learn about steps to reduce your risk for FTag citations.

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Earlier this year, CMS announced four new initiatives to ensure residents are provided the quality care they need.  These initiatives are focused on adequate staffing, dignity and safety in their accommodations, and quality care.

The initiatives aim to achieve these goals:

  • Establish a minimum nursing home staffing requirement
  • Reduce resident room crowding
  • Strengthen the skilled nursing facility value-based purchasing program
  • Reinforce safeguards against unnecessary medication use

While the Biden administration has embarked on efforts to further reduce the use of inappropriate medications for nursing home residents, there is still much to be done to ensure appropriate medication use.

Two of the most common FTags cited when there is inappropriate medication use in facilities are FTag 757 (Drug Regimen is Free from Unnecessary Drugs) and FTag 758 (Free from Unnecessary Psychotropic Med/PRN Use).

Avoiding FTag 757 and 758 citations

There are three key questions every facility should address to avoid citations around unnecessary medication use.

Question #1: What is the facility plan and procedure to reduce the use of antipsychotics?

Question #2: What is the facility plan to ensure that every diagnosis is appropriate for the resident?

Question #3: What is the facility plan and procedure to verify that every medication is necessary for each resident?

If your facility does not have plans, policies, and procedures in place to address these questions, Polaris Group consultants can help.

How Polaris can help

Schedule a Mock Survey: In a mock survey, Polaris Group consultants will look for medication reduction attempts and evaluate in-house and hospital physician accountability. We’ll make recommendations for how your facility can reduce the use of the unnecessary medications for your residents.

Quality Measures Training and Audits & Clinical Program Implementation Trainings: With the implementation of Phase 3 Rules of Participation, significant changes were enacted regarding non-psychotic drugs, antipsychotics, and general dose reductions. Further, staff must have training in substance abuse and be prepared to address emergencies (e.g. an overdose) and administer Naloxone. Polaris Group Consultants can assist with training and educating staff on new rules of compliance.

Polaris Solution Center: With a subscription to the Polaris Solution Center, your facility will have 24/7 services to answer any questions regarding CMS regulations.

The Polaris Group extensive and comprehensive service options are focused on helping your facility achieve regulatory compliance. We share best practices powered by our 30+ years of industry knowledge and work with you to develop action steps for positive resident outcomes. We examine, evaluation, and strategize so you can focus on day-to-day activities that require your undivided attention.

To learn about how the Polaris Group services can benefit your facility, contact us here.

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