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Trump Admin Eases Medicare Fines Against Nursing Homes

by Countable | 12.27.17

What’s the story?

Medicare is scaling back the use of fines to punish nursing home providers who harm or endanger residents. Seema Verma, head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), explained that the change is aimed at easing regulations she says are "taking doctors away from what matters most: patients."

The change in penalty protocols was sought by the nursing home industry. According to the New York Times, "Since 2013, nearly 6,500 nursing homes — four of every 10 — have been cited at least once for a serious violation, federal records show. Medicare has fined two-thirds of those homes. Common citations include failing to protect residents from avoidable accidents, neglect, mistreatment and bedsores."

Industry representatives say they are in need of regulatory relief. Administration officials say the protocols around fines have not improved the quality of care for residents. Dr. Kate Goodrich, the director of clinical standards and quality at CMS, told The Hill:

"Rather than spending quality time with their patients, the providers are spending time complying with regulations that get in the way of caring for their patients and [it] doesn't increase the quality of care they provide."

But advocates for nursing home reform claim the relaxing of penalty protocols comes just as the the policies were starting to effect change:

"some egregious violations and injuries to residents are being penalized — finally — at a level that gets the industry’s attention and isn’t just the cost of doing business."

Fines will still be levied against providers, but will be capped and only assessed if repeated, systemic violations are uncovered upon inspection.

What do you think?

Do you support this move by the administration to reduce regulatory enforcement which it maintains is not effective? Or are they bowing to industry to the detriment of vulnerable patients and their families?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Bromford via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(86)
  • Michael.J.L
    12/27/2017
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    Of course the Nursing Home industry pushed for this. There are many problems with elderly abuse in nursing homes. Most residents have used up all their finances and the nursing homes get paid via Medicare or Medicaid, so there isn't much incentive in their opinion to do anything beyond the bare minimum. The well-off elderly patients don't have nearly the same problems, since they are filling the institutions with lots of cash, so there is a big incentive to keep them healthy and alive. I have witnessed first-hand how low-income people are treated in nursing homes (yes, there are some exceptions). Any elected official who votes for this bill should resign from the human race.

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  • Dara
    12/27/2017
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    Wow! They’re killing our seniors and the trump administration is easing the rules. This is without a doubt the most corrupt and deplorable administration. Shame on these lying, cheating, sanctimonious scam artists. Elections have consequences!

    Like (29)
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  • Ruth
    12/27/2017
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    Now even more reason to fear having to be in a nursing home. Thanks.

    Like (19)
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  • Amy
    12/27/2017
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    As the daughter of a mother who is in nursing home care this is absolutely infuriating. As a human being it is equally infuriating. #TrumpMustGo

    Like (18)
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  • ManfromNebraska
    12/27/2017
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    Nursing home staff and facilities need to be accountable for improper care of those in their care. Most people don’t have someone there to watch out for them on a daily basis. Many homes are under staffed and under trained. I believe this will harm those who live in these facilities.

    Like (17)
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  • Shai
    12/27/2017
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    Unconscionable!! What’s next - the Soylent Green Amendment?

    Like (16)
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  • Rowanba
    12/27/2017
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    Wow! This is the most destructive administration EVER! Have you people no shame?! Now it will be easier to get away with hurting our elders in nursing homes. This is repugnant and all you Republicans are also repugnant if you agree with this.

    Like (15)
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  • John
    12/27/2017
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    Why protect the Elderly? Especially when corporate backers can make Big Money off bilking Seniors out of their savings by providing poorly regulated care without the threat of Penalties? Let’s “Make America Great Again” the way Jesus intended...

    Like (14)
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  • Janet
    12/27/2017
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    We are living in Victorian England again. Open the workhouses! Debtors prisons! Die and decrease the surplus population! Bah Humbug!

    Like (13)
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  • Jill
    12/27/2017
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    Nursing homes are expensive and have a sad history of maltreatment of their patients. To remove fines won’t free up physicians to take care of patients. All it will do is remove the one small consequence of not taking care of the most vulnerable patients. In turn that will give these big corporations that own many of these facilities to take home more profits at the expense of these vulnerable patients. I know my opinions are based on broad generalizations but if the shoe fits...

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  • Gail
    12/27/2017
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    I couldn’t think of anything so irresponsible as the thought of letting this go without accountability. No one would want to put their parent in a place where they don’t fear reprisals for lack of care. Keep these facilities monitored well. It may be you there one day

    Like (11)
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  • Mike
    12/27/2017
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    Do Republicans have any compassion? This country is turning to complete garbage under the Trump Administration. Hope all you Conservative Christians are proud.

    Like (8)
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  • Wendy
    12/27/2017
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    No. They should not decrease regs on nursing homes. I have seen first hand what neglect can do. It affects not only the health of the senior but the dignity and state of mind. What kind of way is that to treat people at the end of their lives?

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  • NoHedges
    12/28/2017
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    This violates equal protection under the law because it is only enforced upon certain socioeconomic classes. This is as bad as the Jim Crow laws. Separate but equal has already been determined to violate our constitution. So, why is it possible for all this legislation to go thru without the SCOTUS stepping in?

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  • Tommy
    12/27/2017
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    Why would you give these companies a pass. Have you EVER spent any time in one of these places?? It is already terrible. Now just imagine what it will be like with less accountability

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  • Mindful
    12/28/2017
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    How in the Hell does following Regulations that PROTECT the elderly in these Nursing Homes interfere with giving Care to these residents???? Regulations outline how this Care is administered—Safely to the ‘patient’s’ best interest. Do Regulations issued by Law/DMV prevent you from driving your vehicle? Or, do they allow you to drive in safe manner to avoid hurting/wrecking another’s vehicle. It’s this or ultimate Libertarianism-do as you dam well please without regard to consequences affecting others. This MAGA? Get real-as legitimate mature adult, not as POTUS.

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  • Christine
    12/27/2017
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    djt and his corporate cronies are despicable.

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  • Gerald
    12/28/2017
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    OMG, this is their replacement for Obamacare? Reduce Medicare costs by killing seniors through neglect? Brilliant and much cheaper than death panels. Weren’t corporate tax cuts enough or must the nursing home industry make even more profits. The regulations and penalties were there for a reason. These are really heartless monsters.

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  • Laura
    12/27/2017
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    This is ridiculous. Nursing homes should be held accountable for the neglect and abuse that occurs. Just who lobbied for this? And, who is allowing this? I guess the shady owners of nursing homes are tired of lawsuits, since that has been diminished in certain states too. This is disgusting and will be the causation of more abuse occurring to one of our most vulnerable populations. Business is business, but not at the expense of those that cannot defend themselves against such harm.

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  • Stephanie
    12/27/2017
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    You are a horrible people, you can leave those poor seniors like that, you can not take away their own Healthcare, and they don't like that.

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