The Trump administration has decided to repeal the use of fines against nursing homes that have been called-out for acts of mistreatment or neglect of their elderly patrons, according to The New York Times.
Under the American Health Care Association’s assertion that inspectors have been too focused on pointing out mistreatment at nursing homes instead of helping the facilities, the nursing home industry has requested a change in the Medicare program’s penalty regulations.
“It is critical that we have relief,” the group’s president Mark Parkinson addressed in a letter to Trump in December of 2016.
6,500 nursing homes have received serious violations since 2013, with roughly two-thirds of them being fined by Medicare. However, under the new regulations, inspectors are being discouraged from giving out fines for citable violations, according to The Times.
Director of clinical standards and quality at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dr. Kate Goodrich, has stated that in the past, regulations have impeded the nursing homes’ abilities to provide the best service they can offer:
“Rather than spending quality time with their patients, the providers are spending time complying with regulations that get in the way of caring for their patients and doesn’t increase the quality of care they provide,” Goodrich said.
And Toby Edelman, a senior attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy stated that the revision has “pretty much emasculated enforcement, which was already weak.”
From The Times:
“In September 2016… health inspectors faulted Lincoln Manor, a nursing home in Decatur, Ill., for failing to monitor and treat the wound of a patient whose implanted pain-medication pump gradually slipped over eight days through a ruptured suture and protruded from her abdomen. The patient died.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fined Lincoln Manor $282,954, including $10,091 a day for 28 days, from the time the nursing home noticed the problem with the wound until supervisors had retrained nurses to avoid similar errors. An administrative law judge called the penalties “quite modest” given the “appalling” care.
The fines were issued before the new guidelines took effect; if the agency had issued a one-time fine, the maximum would have been less than $21,000.”
Do you think this is even remotely acceptable? This is no way to show our appreciation and respect for the elderly.