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State Attorneys General Stand Against Delay To Reform Nursing Home Care

nursing home reform delay

Impact of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Decision to Delay Enforcement of Protections For Nursing Home Residents

On May 30 several State Attorneys General, including Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, sent a joint complaint to Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Seema Verma, Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and expressed extreme concern over the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) actions to slow regulatory enforcements that support the safety and wellbeing for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries who receive care in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. In the letter, the Attorneys General are holding CMS responsible for not pushing forward a 2016 series of skilled nursing facility reforms that were set to move out in three future stages. The current administration’s delay will bring major challenges in holding facilities accountable for providing appropriate resident care and well-being.

“We write this letter to express our concern and to alert the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) about the substantial and foreseeable detriment of CMS’ actions to delay enforcement of protections for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries who receive care in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The recent CMS guidance significantly decreases the protections in SNFs by rolling back reforms to improve the safety and wellbeing of nursing home residents. If allowed to proceed, recent regulatory changes will not only threaten the mental and physical security of some of the most vulnerable residents of our states, but also potentially create additional challenges for MFCU investigation and prosecution of grievances, violations, and crimes occurring in SNFs. We therefore urge you not to lower the level of regulatory oversight.”

Attorney General Madigan was joined in sending the letter alongside Attorneys General of: California, Connecticut, Hawai’i, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Review the Attorneys General concerns here: https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/cms_snf_regulation.pdf

2016 CMS Reforms Were Set to Improve Care

Back in 2016, a set of CMS long-term care reforms were instituted to:

  • prevent the spread of infections in nursing homes
  • improve training for staff
  • provide protections against abuse, neglect
  • impose regulations against exploitation of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries
  • ban arbitration agreements

In addition, many nursing home residents suffer physical ailments, chronic illnesses and memory difficulties, making them an easy target for abuse and neglect. Without investigations, regulation and oversight of nursing homes, the lack of prosecuting grievances, violations and crimes could impact care standards and prevent basic human protections for an already vulnerable population. Most recently, CMS has delayed the implementation of certain penalties by 18 months and lowered the frequency and amount of penalties for past violations.

Levin & Perconti: Attorneys for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Sadly, it feels there may be little hope for improving care for the more than 1.5 million Americans who reside in a nursing home. 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.

Our consultations are always free and confidential. Click here to fill out an online request form or call us toll-free at 1-877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872.