Financial Penalties Relaxed Against Nursing Homes

When nursing homes fail to meet regulations, they are normally imposed with fines, which can be quite high. Under the Obama Administration, these fines were stepped up in an effort to deter nursing homes from committing these lapses and errors. Under Trump’s Administration, these fines and their implementation will be scaled back, even when these lapses may lead to the death of a resident. Kaiser Health News reports on the situation.

Since 2013, nearly 6,500 nursing homes, equaling out to be 2/5 of the industry, have been cited at least once for a serious violation.

The new guidelines discourage regulators from imposing fines and even if fines are imposed, the amount of the fines paid will be greatly reduced.

The request for the reduction came from the American Health Care Association, which runs the nursing home industry. They claimed that under the previous administration, too much effort was placed on catching and fining wrongdoing than effort to help nursing homes improve.

In October, CMS discouraged regional offices from levying fines, even when the lapse or error led to serious health violations if it was a “one-time mistake.” Back in July, the same agency discouraged of those state agencies that survey nursing homes from imposing daily fines, often used until a lapse or an issue is corrected, in favor of one-time fines.

Advocates for patients in nursing homes say that this effectively emasculates enforcement, which was already weak to begin with.

Back in June, the Trump Administration also rescinded another Obama Administration regulation that banned nursing homes from including arbitration clauses as a part of their contract to enter the nursing home. These clauses prevented residents and their families from taking nursing homes to court over cases of abuse, neglect, and in some cases, wrongful death.

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