In September 2016, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued revised nursing home regulations that had been thoughtfully developed over four years to promote residents’ health and safety. Now, however, under the current administration, CMS is backtracking and weakening resident protections.
Starting in January 2017, nursing home lobbyists began urging CMS to eliminate or delay enforcement of some of the revised regulations, and to significantly reduce penalties imposed when a nursing home violates the law. Disturbingly, CMS too often has followed the lobbyists’ recommendations.
Protections have been weakened since January 2017, and, the current administration’s actions suggest an intent to further undermine these protections. This is bad news for nursing home residents, for their family and friends, and for anyone who cares about the well-being of older Americans.
Here are some troubling steps that CMS already has taken. Residents benefit from early care planning and antibiotic standards, but CMS created an 18-month moratorium on money penalties for violations of these requirements. Arbitration agreements are harmful to residents, but CMS proposes to reverse a ban on arbitration agreements and instead authorize nursing homes to require them. A new regulation requires nursing homes to notify a local ombudsman whenever they move to evict a resident, but now CMS has requested comments on how they might eliminate that requirement.
Read the issue briefs on the right for more detailed information. If you are concerned about these changes, please send a quick message to your elected officials to stand up against these efforts to reduce essential nursing home safety standards!