Medicare Set to Update Regs Related to Nursing Homes

Compassionate Attorney Working with Families to Protect Nursing Home Victims in RI & MA

In recent months, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a new rule that would significantly impact long-term care facilities (nursing homes) in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and throughout the country. Nursing home industry critics say the changes are long overdue, that the entire regulatory framework is mired in the past. Indeed, CMS has not performed a comprehensive update of its nursing home regulations since 1991.

Proposed Regulatory Highlights

While the regulatory changes are not yet final, CMS is still receiving public comment. Here are some of the highlights regarding new proposed regulations:

  • Each facility would utilize an antibiotics stewardship program that would include antibiotic use protocols and a system to monitor antibiotic use. Each facility would have to designate an “infection prevention and control officer.” That officer would be specially trained who would regularly report on the facilities infection protection and control program.
  • The use of unnecessary psychotropic and antipsychotic medications would be monitored. Industry critics have charged that all too often, the medications are utilized more for the convenience of the nursing home staff than for the health of the resident.
  • Each nursing home resident would be provided access to Internet, email, cell phone, and video communication.
  • Each nursing home resident would have the right to obtain his/her medical records in a format of the resident’s choice. One such choice could be electronic.
  • Reflecting recent social changes in our society, long-term care facilities would be required to provide the same-sex spouse of a resident rights equal to that of any other spouse in a legal marriage.
  • Residents would be allowed much greater say in the choice of roommates. Visiting hours would be extended so as to reflect the fact that the facility was the resident’s home and not a mere treatment facility.
  • The federal government would be empowered to review how each facility operated in a fashion consistent with the ethnic, cultural and religious values of the residents. Such an assessment would be on an annual basis.

Some Regulatory Changes Required by Obamacare

CMS officials have noted that a number of the proposed regulations are actually required under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

Nursing Homes Give Mixed Reviews to Proposed Changes: Unfunded Mandate?

While nursing home industry spokespersons have praised some of the proposed changes, they have criticized others. For example, the American Hospital Association (AHA), which has nearly 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, as well as 43,000 individual members, recently acknowledged that while many of the changes were overdue, the price tag associated with the new regulations would be enormous. CMS estimates the cost in the first year alone would be $700 million. The AHA argues it will be much higher, that the proposed regulations amount to a huge unfunded mandate heaped upon the backs of the long-term care industry.

Some Proposed Regulations Geared Toward Nursing Home Problems

Some—not all—of the proposed regulations are designed to deal with patient/resident care issues that have become all too prevalent within the nursing home industry. Among the problems noted in recent years are issues with:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Financial or Material Exploitation

Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence is a Concern for Many

Is a member of your family currently residing in a nursing home facility? Have you seen evidence of neglect or maltreatment? Do you have concerns as to whether the facility is up to the appropriate professional standards? Recognize that there are time limits within which you must file your claim. If a member of your family has been victimized while residing at a nursing home, you deserve skillful, energetic, and experienced attorneys to help you with your case. The injury lawyers at the Bottaro Law Firm, LLC have the resources to investigate the situation. We have the knowledge and stamina to fight for your legal rights. If we take your case, we will pursue it at no cost until we win. Our experienced legal team has a great track record helping residents of Massachusetts and Rhode Island with their claims. We are available 24/7 for a free consultation. Give us a call at 866–529–9700, or complete the convenient online contact form.