Impact of Federal Shutdown on OLC Survey Activities

On October 1st a Memorandum from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to State Agency Directors (S&C 4-02-ALL) outlines contingency plans for State Survey & Certification activities in the event of a Federal Government Shutdown.  The Memo identifies functions that (a) are not affected by a shutdown, (b) essential functions that are to be continued in the event of a shutdown, and (c) other functions that are directly affected and should not be operational during a shutdown.  

Of particular importance to VHCA members is the guidance to survey agencies regarding activities to be continued and those that are discontinued during a Federal Government Shutdown.  The policy is effective beginning October 1, 2013, and lasts while the federal government is in shutdown status.

Activities to continue include:

  • Complaint investigations alleging harm
  • Enforcement actions that result from complaint investigations if the complaints are substantiated with a finding of immediate jeopardy or actual harm
  • Revisit surveys approved by exception and necessary to prevent termination; when State survey agencies may request approval to conduct a revisit
  • Immediate threats to life or safety
  • Orderly shutdown of other tasks

Activities not supported during a Federal Government Shutdown include:

  • Standard surveys
  • Certain revisit surveys
  • Initial surveys
  • Initial certification via deemed status
  • Validation surveys
  • Certain complaint investigations
  • Patient Safety Initiative (PSI) Pilot Surveys
  • MDS or OASIS: No minimum data set (MDS) or OASIS activities should be conducted except those necessary to maintain provider reporting
  • Informal Dispute Resolutions (IDRs)
  • New CMP-Funded Improvement Projects


State licensure functions and enforcement activities under State law are not constrained by the Federal government shutdown.  Members are encouraged to read the S&C Memo for additional information.