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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Monday, March 19, 2018

Changes in Nursing Home Fine Violations

As part of an ongoing effort to reduce bureaucracy and eliminate what it considers unnecessary regulations, the federal government has significantly decreased penalties that can be levied against nursing homes that receive federal funding. These penalties are generally imposed for safety or quality-standard violations.

Additionally, the new federal regulations make it harder to deny payments to nursing homes for any violations that may occur. These changes occurred back in December.

While we all hope that if we have loved ones in nursing homes, they are well cared for, sometimes these violations occur.

A report from Kasper Health News in December showed that since 2013, nearly 6,500 nursing homes — 4 of every 10 — have been cited at least once for a serious violation, according to federal records. Medicare had fined two-thirds of those homes. Among the most common violations were failing to protect residents from avoidable accidents, neglect, mistreatment and bedsores.

The average fine has been $33,453, but 531 nursing homes amassed combined federal fines above $100,000. Congress increased the fines to factor in several years of inflation that had not been accounted for previously in 2016.

The change in the rules have been instituted over the last 14 months, and in October, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started discouraging its regional offices from levying fines except in the most severe and repeat cases.

Patient advocates have argued that these changes make residents more vulnerable. They suggest if you have family members in nursing homes visit often, compare homes and be careful when signing admission agreements.



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