Quietly, and with little notice, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has, under the new Trump administration, put the brakes on enforcement regulations enacted in the Obama administration which were put into place to insure resident safety in the country’s nursing home industry.
Nursing homes now will no longer face civil monetary penalties or payment denials or termination from Medicare if they fail to comply with requirements designed to ensure that they have adequate staff on-site, including staff qualified to provide behavioral health services. These facilities are also now getting a pass on requirements that ensure appropriate prescribing of psychotropic medications.
The action of CMS was actually a compromise with the nursing home industry, which wanted the rules frozen completely rather than delayed for 18 months, as is the current plan. Patient advocates were nevertheless dismayed, in that as the Center for Medicare Advocacy indicated after the November announcement, this is just the latest in a line of policy actions since Trump took office that seek to undermine efforts by prior administrations to make nursing homes safer and to provide a higher quality of care for residents.
We at Turner & Sackett are proud of our efforts to hold nursing homes accountable for the failure to adequately and safely take care of our elderly population and those in our families who rely on nursing homes and their staff to properly care for our family members. Even if the government agencies responsible will not take on the role to properly regulate the nursing home industry, we will continue to do our best to hold accountable those facilities who fail to carry their responsibility for residents safely and properly.