CMS Issues New Social Media Rules

With the recent headline making news of nursing home employees taking and sharing pictures of residents in vulnerable positions, new regulations have needed to go into effect.  Though some would consider such regulations to be common sense, it is clear that the rules need to be spelled out.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services decided to spell out these regulations.

In an August 5 memo sent to state agencies that inspect nursing homes, CMS directed that each agency ensures that nursing homes had a policy prohibiting staff from taking or using photos or recordings that could possibly demean or violate the privacy of residents.

The regulation covers cameras, smartphones and other devices.  It also expands to cover photos stored on the device or posting it to social media.

The action from CMS is largely due to a spate of recent reports that employees of nursing homes have taken pictures of residents who were engaged in using the toilet, receiving personal care services, or in otherwise private moments.  These photos were either then shared among other employees or posted to social media.

Beginning September 5, inspection teams must review the policies of the facility and ensure that there is a policy in place related to photos and recordings.  Nursing homes that fail to comply could face a citation. Additionally, if the inspection determines a resident was harmed, the facility could face a fine.

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect while staying in a nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation.  Contact the law offices of Schenk Law.  Our attorneys will help you to get the compensation you deserve.  Contact us today.