§ 488.431Civil money penalties imposed by CMS and independent informal dispute resolution: for SNFS, dually-participating SNF/NFs, and NF-only facilities.
(a)Opportunity for independent review. CMS retains ultimate authority for the survey findings and imposition of civil money penalties, but provides an opportunity for independent informal dispute resolution within 30 days of notice of imposition of a civil money penalty that will be placed in escrow in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section. An independent informal dispute resolution will—
(1) Be completed within 60 days of facility's request if an independent informal dispute resolution is timely requested by the facility.
(2) Generate a written record prior to the collection of the penalty.
(3) Include notification to an involved resident or resident representative, as well as the State's long term care ombudsman, to provide opportunity for written comment.
(4) Be approved by CMS and conducted by the State under section 1864 of the Act, or by an entity approved by the State and CMS, or by CMS or its agent in the case of surveys conducted only by federal surveyors where the State independent dispute resolution process is not used, and which has no conflict of interest, such as:
(i) A component of an umbrella State agency provided that the component is organizationally separate from the State survey agency.
(ii) An independent entity with a specific understanding of Medicare and Medicaid program requirements selected by the State and approved by CMS.
(5) Not include the survey findings that have already been the subject of an informal dispute resolution under § 488.331 for the particular deficiency citations at issue in the independent process under § 488.431, unless the informal dispute resolution under § 488.331 was completed prior to the imposition of the civil money penalty.
(b)Collection and placement in escrow account.
(1) For both per day and per instance civil money penalties, CMS may collect and place the imposed civil money penalties in an escrow account on whichever of the following occurs first:
(i) The date on which the independent informal dispute resolution process is completed under paragraph (a) of this section.
(ii) The date that is 90 days after the date of the notice of imposition of the penalty.
(2) For collection and placement in escrow accounts of per day civil money penalties, CMS may collect the portion of the per day civil money penalty that has accrued up to the time of collection as specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. CMS may make additional collections periodically until the full amount is collected, except that the full balance must be collected once the facility achieves substantial compliance or is terminated from the program and CMS determines the final amount of the civil money penalty imposed.
(3) CMS may provide for an escrow payment schedule that differs from the collection times of paragraph (1) of this subsection in any case in which CMS determines that more time is necessary for deposit of the total civil money penalty into an escrow account, not to exceed 12 months, if CMS finds that immediate payment would create substantial and undue financial hardship on the facility.
(4) If the full civil money penalty is not placed in an escrow account within 30 calendar days from the date the provider receives notice of collection, or within 30 calendar days of any due date established pursuant to a hardship finding under paragraph (b)(3), CMS may deduct the amount of the civil money penalty from any sum then or later owed by CMS or the State to the facility in accordance with § 488.442(c).
(5) For any civil money penalties that are not collected and placed into an escrow account under this section, CMS will collect such civil money penalties in the same manner as the State in accordance with § 488.432.
(c)Maintenance of escrowed funds. CMS will maintain collected civil money penalties in an escrow account pending the resolution of any administrative appeal of the deficiency findings that comprise the basis for the civil monetary penalty imposition. CMS will retain the escrowed funds on an on-going basis and, upon a final administrative decision, will either return applicable funds in accordance with paragraph (d)(2) of this section or, in the case of an unsuccessful administrative appeal, will periodically disburse the funds to States or other entities in accordance with § 488.433.
(d)When a facility requests a hearing.
(1) A facility must request a hearing on the determination of the noncompliance that is the basis for imposition of the civil money penalty as specified in § 498.40 of this chapter.
(2) If the administrative law judge reverses deficiency findings that comprise the basis of a civil money penalty in whole or in part, the escrowed amounts continue to be held pending expiration of the time for CMS to appeal the decision or, where CMS does appeal, a Departmental Appeals Board decision affirming the reversal of the pertinent deficiency findings. Any collected civil money penalty amount owed to the facility based on a final administrative decision will be returned to the facility with applicable interest as specified in section 1878(f)(2) of the Act.