CMS Issues Conditions of Participation for Community Mental Health Centers

By Lance O. Leider, J.D., The Health Law Firm

On October 28, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a Final Rule establishing conditions of participation (CoPs) for Medicare-certified community mental health centers (CMHCs). The Final Rule is CMS 3202-F. These conditions are the health and safety regulations Medicare providers must meet in order to participate in the Medicare program and receive reimbursements. The stated purpose of the CoPs is to improve client care, establish requirements for staff and provider operations, and encourage clients to participate in their own treatment. According to CMS, many CMHCs are currently not required to meet any health and safety standards.

To read the Final Rule from the CMS, click here.

A CMHC is a provider that meets applicable licensure and certification requirements in the state in which it is located and provides certain care and services.

Mental Health Centers Must Meet These New CoPs.

CMS finalized six new CoPs. All clients will have a treatment team, an active treatment plan, and coordination of services providing individualized client care. Clients must be provided with an initial evaluation, a comprehensive assessment, and a discharge or transfer plan that identifies each client’s needs and how those needs will be met on a timely basis. Also, CMHCs must use outcome and client satisfaction data to identify specific program needs and improve the quality of care provided. The regulations also promote continuity of care by emphasizing the need for communication with other service providers regarding client needs at the time of discharge or transfer.

In a press release, CMS stated that the new CoPs will help raise standards for the 100 CMHCs that participate in Medicare. The conditions will supposedly ensure a higher quality of care and safety for more than 13,000 Medicare beneficiaries being treated at mental health centers.

Click here to read the press release from the CMS.

Effective Date for New Requirements is October 29, 2014.

The regulations take effect on October 29, 2014. To verify CMHCs are meeting the new requirements, CMS will survey these centers at least once every five years. However, if CMS receives a complaint on a CMHC, surveys may occur more frequently. Considering the scrutiny that has been applied recently to the provision of mental health services, we expect surveys to be much more frequent.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in the Mental Health Counselors, Therapists and Facilities.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to mental health counselors, psychologists, social workers and family therapists in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, FBI investigations, audits and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers. Our attorneys also represent community mental health centers and other types of mental health facilities.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at


What do you think of the new CoPs for CMHCs? How do you think these conditions will improve patient care? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “CMS Issues New Patient Safety Standards for Community Mental Health Centers.” CMS. (October 28, 2013). From:

Bourque, Dianne. “CMS Finalizes Conditions of Participation for Community Mental Health Centers.” American Health Lawyers Association. (November 5, 2013).
About the Author: Lance O. Leider is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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