Ftag of the Week – F586 Resident Contact with External Entities

This week’s “Ftag of the Week” on the CMSCG Blog is part of the Resident Rights regulatory group, F586 Resident Contact with External Entities. F586 is a short and sweet regulation, but not one to forget about. The regulation states that facilities cannot prohibit or otherwise discourage a resident from communicating with external entities. These entities include the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, representatives from advocacy agencies, representatives from the health department and/or state or federal surveyors and should be accessible to residents of your facility. All facility staff should be aware of the resident’s right to communicate freely with any of these entities and not discourage them from doing so.

Push pins

Compliance with F586 isn’t something that is necessarily a routine survey task, but other facility practices could lead to a problem here. There are a lot of requirements related to ensuring clearly posted information, including information related to the Ombudsman and Department of Health. Not knowing the contact information for these or other external entities, or not knowing how to file a grievance can all be problematic on survey.

But there’s always a few citation examples to remind providers what not to do. Here’s a couple things to think about:

  • During a recertification survey, a resident was interviewed and stated that he was not invited to his care plan meetings. Per the very detailed Statement of Deficiencies (SOD), the Social Worker became upset and insisted the resident go to her office to meet with the surveyor and verify that the Social Worker met with him weekly. The resident, per the SOD, was visibly shaken and told the surveyor that he had participated in meetings but not care plan meetings and now felt that the facility staff would retaliate against him for speaking to a surveyor.
  • Another facility was cited for interfering and preventing communication with surveyors when multiple corporate staff (who were onsite for survey support) kept redirecting a resident’s family member to speak to facility staff instead of allowing her to speak to a surveyor. The family member waited nearly 3 hours for the surveyors to leave the conference room so she could try to speak to them about a resident.

Word to the wise – don’t interfere with the survey process or you may find yourself with an extra citation. A better practice would be to try to address resident and family concerns at the facility level when they are shared rather than leaving residents and their representatives feeling unheard – only then lay it all on the table during your next survey.

You can also view an earlier version of our “Ftag of the Week” for F568 posted during the COVID-19 PHE here.

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