The nursing home industry is reaping the benefits of a decision made by the Trump administration to ease up on the use of fines against nursing homes.The policy change will reverse the Obama administration’s policy of fining nursing homes for harming residents or placing them in grave risk of injury, part of President Trump’s resolve to reduce government’s role in federal bureaucracy, regulation and intervention on businesses.
The nursing home industry requested the reversal of these guidelines after 6,500 nursing homes were cited at least once for a serious violation since 2013, for reasons ranging from nursing home neglect to bedsores. As per the new regulations, nursing homes will see lower fines and in some cases possible exemption of amassed fines, even after a resident’s death.
Director of clinical standards and quality at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Dr. Kate Goodrich, told the New York Times (https://khn.org/news/trump-administration-relaxes-financial-penalties-against-nursing-homes/) the past regulations were becoming a burden on health care providers.“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,” she explained.
Most recently, the average nursing home fine was $33,453. However, records show 531 nursing homes accumulated a combined total of $100,000 in fines. To make matters worse for the industry, in 2016 congress increased the fines to factor in years of inflation that were not previously accounted for.
The nursing home facility will now see some respite, as the new guidelines have been gradually implemented throughout the year. Some nursing homes could be protected from fines that have reached $20,965 or higher, the maximum per-instance fine.At the height of it, fines were being imposed daily to incite a quick solution.This became futile, David Gifford, the American Health Care Association’s senior vice president for quality,said, when the reason for the fine was often remedied by the time inspectors got to them.
The consequence of these fines started to weigh heavily on the nursing home and healthcare industry, which prompted The American Health Care Association’s group president, Mark Parkinson, to write in a letter to Trump in December 2016, “It is critical that we have relief.” It seems that relief has been granted.
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