Since January 2017 the health and safety of nursing home residents has become increasingly imperiled. Nursing home lobbyists have urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to eliminate or delay regulations and dramatically reduce enforcement of violations. Unfortunately, CMS has shown a disturbing willingness to follow these lobbyists’ recommendations.
For example, under regulations finalized by the prior administration, nursing homes were obligated by November 2017 to conduct prompt care planning and institute antibiotic stewardship programs. The administration complied with lobbyist requests to delay enforcement of these and other requirements, establishing a moratorium until May 2019 on money penalties, even though nursing homes have been on notice of these requirements since September 2016.
Similarly, nursing home lobbyists have attacked a regulation from the previous administration that had prevented nursing homes from obtaining arbitration agreements from residents during the admissions process. In response, the current administration has proposed to rescind that regulation and issue a new regulation that would authorize nursing homes to require arbitration agreements as a condition of being admitted.
Advocates including the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Consumer Voice, CANHR, and the Long Term Care Community Coalition, and led by Justice in Aging, have created a tracker of industry lobbying and resulting administrative actions, as well as a series of policy alerts providing more detail about the specific protections weakened by industry lobbying. An online version of the tracker and policy alerts are available on the JIA website. They will update the page regularly to include future CMS actions.