Obama administration proposes rules to modernize nursing homes
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a set of rules aimed at drastically improving the quality of care Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries are receiving in nursing homes.
Announced earlier this week, the 403-page proposed rule would revise the requirements that nursing homes have to meet to participate in the federal programs. It would be the first update to requirements in 24 years.
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“Today's measures set high standards for quality and safety in nursing homes and long-term care facilities,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a statement. “When a family makes the decision for a loved one to be placed in a nursing home or long-term-care facility, they need to know that their loved one's health and safety are priorities.”
According to the Washington Examiner, some of the changes include making sure that nursing homes staff members are properly trained on caring for residents with dementia and in preventing elder abuse. Other changes include improving care planning, including discharge planning for all residents with involvement of the facility's interdisciplinary team and consideration of the caregiver's capacity, giving residents information they need for follow-up, and ensuring that instructions are transmitted to any receiving facilities or services.
The CMS additionally wants every nursing home to have a director of food and nutrition service to ensure that residents receive proper nutrition. Facilities also have to provide food and drinks that take into consideration a resident’s allergies, intolerance and preferences, according to the proposal.
According to Modern Healthcare, the CMS is the leading payer in the nation for long-term care services. Approximately 64 percent of nursing home residents have their care paid for by Medicaid, another 14 percent are covered by Medicare and 22 percent have another payer, according to the American Health Care Association, a nursing home trade group.
If finalized, the proposals would cost the nursing home industry $729 million in the first year the rule is in effect and $638 million in year two, according to the CMS.
While there has been an initial stir within the industry following the news, comments on the rule are due Sept. 16.