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Nursing Home Disaster Response Plan Met With Opposition

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Lawmakers in Outrage of Administration’s Relaxed Nursing Home Emergency Preparedness Proposed Requirements

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. He has been outspoken on many occasions regarding the outcome of nursing home preparedness in the event of an emergency such as a natural disaster. And with President Trump’s Administration’s recent announcement to ease a home’s necessary preparedness for emergencies, his concern came with outrage expressed in an official letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“It is troubling to see CMS decide to further roll back its already inadequate safeguards with this proposed rule, which does more to cut corners than cut costs,” Wyden wrote. “The Trump administration’s proposal not only strips patients of commonsense protections in order to pad the pockets of medical providers, but goes against the recommendations of well-respected national organizations charged with developing best practices for workplace and consumer safety.”

Both providers and patient advocates have expressed both mixed feelings to the Administration’s plan, but mostly opposition to the summary of changes outlined in a synopsis of a September 2018 CMS fact sheet on the Administration’s proposal, including:

  • Emergency program: Give facilities the flexibility to review their emergency program every two years, or more often at their own discretion, in order to best address their individual needs.
  • Emergency plan: Eliminating the duplicative requirement that the emergency plan include documentation of efforts to contact local, tribal, regional, State and federal emergency preparedness officials and a facility’s participation in collaborative and cooperative planning efforts
  • Training: Give facilities greater discretion in revising training requirements to allow training to occur annually or more often at their own discretion.
  • Testing (for inpatient providers/suppliers)Increasing the flexibility for the testing requirement so that one of the two annually-required testing exercises may be an exercise of the facility’s choice.
  • Testing (for outpatient providers/suppliers)Revising the requirement for facilities to conduct two testing exercises to one testing exercise annually. Additional testing will be at the facilities’ discretion based on unique needs.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance recently called for more oversight to prevent nursing home emergency related tragedies with the release of an 84-page report highlighting the causes and consequences of facility failures related natural disasters. Our attorneys recently provided a recap of the investigative report by the Minority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance titled, “Sheltering in Danger” here.

Nursing Home Emergency Preparedness Creates Safer Outcomes

Our Illinois nursing home attorneys know that many care facilities routinely ignore the safety and needs of those in their charge in the event of an emergency. If you suspect neglect of a loved one in a nursing home due to its lack of emergency preparedness, please contact us now for a FREE consultation with one of our attorneys. Call us toll free at 1-877-374-1417, in Chicago at (312) 332-2872, or complete our online case evaluation form.