Regulation Reduces Fines for Nursing Home Citations
According to the New York Times, nearly 6,500 nursing homes, equating to about four in every ten nursing homes, have received at least one citation for a serious violation since 2013.
Some of the most common of the citations issued include neglect, avoidable accidents, mistreatment, and bedsores.
The American Health Care Association is now pushing for a shift in the Medicare program’s penalty protocols. Under these new guidelines, regulators would be discouraged from giving fines to nursing homes in certain situations, regardless of if those incidents led to the injury or death of a nursing home resident.
How Will New Nursing Home Regulations Impact the Care of Residents?
As with anything, there are two sides to this story.
On the one hand, there are a small number of groups arguing that reducing the fines will actually help the quality of care.
The President and CEO of Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, Holly Lange, suggests the easing of regulations will increase the quality of care because the focus will be on patients, instead of trying to avoid fines.
Lange claims that the fines focused more on catching wrong doing than helping nursing homes improve.
Dr. Kate Goodrich, director of clinical standards and quality at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), agreed with Lange’s sentiment.
“Rather than spending quality time with their patients, the providers are spending time complying with regulations that get in the way of caring for their patients and doesn’t increase the quality of care they provide,” Goodrich said.
However, many advocates are concerned that the revised penalties will instead lead to a reduction in the quality of care patients receive.
The AHCA, the organization pushing for decreased regulations, is the main trade group of the nursing home industry. As such, it has big incentives to reduce the number of citations and fines that nursing home facilities receive.
The big concern is that if the new policies allow for mistreatment of nursing home patients to go unpunished, the incidents of nursing home neglect and abuse will rise.
For example, the New York Times reported about a nursing home that failed to properly monitor a patient’s wound, leading to her untimely death. Under Obama’s Policies, the nursing home was fined $282,954 but under Trump’s Administration with the new regulations, the same facility would be fined less than $21,000, even though serious neglect in care was evident.
This new movement is just one of the ways the nursing home industry is changing. Recently, we shared information on how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services removed a ban that stopped nursing homes from forcing patients and their families to sign arbitration clauses.
Janet Wells, a consultant for California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said the changes come as “some egregious violations and injuries to residents are being penalized — finally — at a level that gets the industry’s attention and isn’t just the cost of doing business.”
The question remains: Will relaxing these penalties threaten to undo progress at deterring wrongdoing? Or will reducing the penalties allow nurses and doctors to focus more on their patients?
Here at Dansky | Katz | Ringold | York, we work hard to fight for the rights of nursing home abuse victims and their families. Any regulation that will significantly reduce penalties and fines for nursing homes – or rid of them entirely – can seriously impact the care of our seniors and loved ones.
Thankfully, we are not alone in the fight for justice and safety of nursing home residents.
Many members of Congress are now calling for more protections for nursing home residents and patients. This is the result of a devastating incident in Florida during a Hurricane Irma-caused air conditioning outage, when a nursing home failed to evacuate patients, leading to 14 deaths and over 100 hospitalizations.
This wake up call is just one of too many cases where nursing home neglect led to avoidable injury and deaths of residents.
The 46 members of Congress who are calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as the Trump Administration, to maintain recent protections for our seniors against nursing home abuse argue, “This is a time when we should be protecting our nation’s seniors, not rolling back their fundamental right to hold wrongdoers accountable for neglect and abuse.”
We stand by the side of our Congressmen who are fighting for the rights of nursing home residents and victims.
Fighting Against Nursing Home Abuse
If one of your loved ones suffered from abuse or neglect in a nursing home facility, we encourage you to speak to one of our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys. It is important to understand your rights, especially as regulations are continuously changing in this industry.
The team at Dansky | Katz | Ringold | York believes in fighting for the safe care and protection of our seniors. As such, when you hire us for your nursing home injury case, you become a part of our family, and we will always treat you as such.