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New Penalties Proposed for Negligent Nursing Homes

The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) proposed new regulations yesterday for civil money penalties for nursing homes that violate CMS participation rules. Much of the money used to run nursing homes and provide care to elderly citizens is provided by CMS.

To ensure that the funds are spent in a fair manner and that adequate care is provided, CMS has guidelines that must be followed before a nursing home will be reimbursed by CMS for the cost of provided care to each resident. Also, CMS has the power to impose penalties on nursing homes that violate the CMS requirements.

The new regulations proposed yesterday were mandated by the landmark healthcare reform law passed last year. Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti support any new law that holds failing nursing homes accountable for elder abuse and negligent care that is too often provided to senior residents. Our clients have continually shared stories of substandard care at these facilities, often leading to deadly results. Threatening the money streams to the nursing home facilities is sometimes the only way to ensure that nursing home administrators finally ensure that their employees are properly trained, the facility is secure, and all nursing home laws are followed.

A few of the new regulations proposed yesterday include:

– Allowing a portion of a civil money penalty collected for Medicare violations to be used for the protection and benefit of nursing home residents. Currently, the money is simply collected by the U.S. Treasury and pooled in the general fund.

– After the conducting an informal dispute resolution (IDR), allowing CMS to collect the penalty money, placing the funds in an escrow account until any appeal process is completed. This way negligent nursing homes are not able to delay paying any penalties while they slow down the process with continuing appeals measures.

– Require that all IDR actions not be delayed and occur within 90 days of notice of the CMS imposed penalty.

Click here to read this summary from The Hill with more details on the proposed changes. We will be sure to keep this blog updated on the developments as these proposals become the actual law by which nursing homes must abide.