The Trump administration — reversing guidelines put in place under President Barack Obama — is scaling back the use of fines against nursing homes that harm residents or place them in grave risk of injury.
Since 2013, nearly 6,500 nursing homes — 4 of every 10 — have been cited at least once for a serious violation, according to federal records. Medicare has fined two-thirds of those homes. Common citations include failing to protect residents from avoidable accidents, neglect, mistreatment and bedsores.
The shift in the Medicare program’s penalty protocols was requested by the nursing home industry. The American Health Care Association, the industry’s main trade group, has complained that under Obama inspectors focused excessively on catching wrongdoing rather than helping nursing homes improve.
The new guidelines discourage regulators from levying fines in some situations, even when they have resulted in a resident’s death. The guidelines will also probably result in lower fines for many facilities.
Advocates for nursing home residents say that relaxing penalties threatens to undo progress at deterring wrongdoing. 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.”
Nursing homes that harm seniors face fewer fines under Trump (USA TODAY) https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/01/03/nursing-homes-harm-kill-seniors/1000070001/
Alliance for Retired Americans FRIDAY ALERT https://retiredamericans.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Friday-Alert-January-5-2018_1.pdf?link_id=8&can_id=&source=email-january-5-2018-friday-alert-2&email_referrer=email_282559&email_subject=january-5-2018-friday-alert
[image description: an elderly male is sitting in a wheelchair is a nursing home community room. A nursing home staff member is standing at the elevator in the community room.]