CMS Rolls Back Important Nursing Home Protections

CMS Rolls Back Important Nursing Home Protections

Did you know that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently weakened and rolled back important regulations on nursing homes? This is unnecessary and puts residents at increased risk of abuse and danger.

 

In September of 2016, under the former Obama Administration, CMS had thoughtfully revised the regulations to increase nursing home residents’ health and safety. These revised regulations were to be rolled out over the coming years. Under the current administration, however, CMS is bending to the nursing home lobbyists to strategically weaken or eliminate the revised regulations and to significantly reduce monetary penalties for nursing homes that violate the law. This is disturbing, particularly when nursing home abuses on residents are far too often making news headlines and regulations are already under supervised. This trend is also bad news for all Americans, and particularly older Americans, people with disabilities needing high levels of skilled care, and for family, friends and loved ones who care for our elders.

 

One of our partners, Justice in Aging, is documenting some of the troubling steps CMS is taking. To name a few:

  • 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.

     

For more informative materials tracking CMS’ actions under the current Administration, see Justice in Aging’s “Fighting the Rollback of Nursing Home Protections“.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.