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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ‘Immediate Jeopardy’ Citations on the Rise

With a newly named adminstrator at the head of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), LeadingAge, a group supposedly dedicated to the health and welfare of those in nursing homes, has taken advantage of a fresh set of ears.  Recently, senior leaders of the group took the opportunity to meet with Seema Verma, the newly minted head of CMS, to share their beliefs that the surging number of Immediate Jeopardy violations has caused a strain on the way they do business.

Immediate Jeopardy Violations are CMS’ Most Serious Offenses
According to CMS.gov, Immediate Jeopardy refers to “A situation in which the provider’s noncompliance with one or more requirements of participation has caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury, harm, impairment, or death to a resident.” LeadingAge, who is funded by many corporations, including those with financial interest in nursing homes and services provided to the elderly, is arguing that the standards that are required to be met are hindering their ability to do business as usual. Essentially, the group has asked for CMS to either lower their standards or to make the steps required to improve Immediate Jeopardy situations less daunting. It seems unbelievable that the group is upset about the impact the violations have caused and not the reasons for why the violations were issued in the first place. Why is it that the facilities are unable to meet standards that simply require not putting residents at risk of serious injury or death? If adequate staffing numbers are maintained, if proper training is given and if residents are truly a priority, why are these nursing homes facing increasing Immediate Jeopardy violations?

Perhaps the question nursing home groups should be asking themselves is what they can do to ensure that Immediate Jeopardy citations are not being issued to facilities at increasing rates. It is a frightening thought that instead of using the opportunity to talk to nursing homes about their shortcomings (low staff to resident ratios, inadequate training, etc), LeadingAge chose to go to CMS to talk about how their ‘high standards’ are making it hard to do business.

The rise in Immediate Jeopardy citations brings to light what can happen when nursing homes fail to follow the standard of care when treating residents and the frequency with which these situations are actually occurring. When negligence occurs and a person is injured or killed, it is crucial that nursing homes be held accountable. Lawsuits send a message to nursing homes that substandard care will not be tolerated, while oftentimes motivating and challenging facilities to change their policies in order to provide better care. If you believe that a loved one of any age was injured or died because a nursing home in Illinois violated the standard of care, our experienced nursing home attorneys may be able to help you seek justice.