(AUSTIN, TX) — Families for Better Care Executive Director Brian Lee made the following statement today in response to the New York Times reporting that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is “scaling back the use of fines against nursing homes that harm residents or place them in grave risk of injury.”
“Families for Better Care strongly opposes any roll back of nursing home enforcement. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ policy to cripple nursing home penalties is a reckless abandonment of Reagan-era regulations that will now make it less expensive to harm vulnerable adults.”
Make no mistake, reducing fines in cases of abuse and neglect will only result in more residents needlessly suffering falls, painful pressure sores, and hospitalizations from rampant infections. Analysis of current enforcement standards show that nearly two-thirds of the hundreds of nursing homesrepeatedly fined or denied payment by CMS over the past four years are still rated as below average facilities.
What residents need right now is tougher enforcement, not industry appeasement.
That’s why Families for Better Care is asking nursing home leaders to join with us in demanding CMS reverse course on this ill-advised policy—not only for the safety of the thousands of residents who call nursing homes “home,” but also for the health and vitality of the nursing home brand itself. Whoever is misleading operators—and for that matter CMS—that the “scaling back” of penalties is a nursing home industry “victory,” then they’re in for a rude awakening.
Providing so-called ‘relief’ to those facilities that abuse and neglect the elderly will green light horror stories on the six o’clock news and will almost certainly accelerate the frequency and severity of expensive lawsuits—two things the industry is known to loathe.
Consumers will not tolerate an industry that seeks exoneration of the guilty.
Families for Better Care cares about the residents who live in nursing homes. Families for Better Care cares about nursing homes. That’s why we’re asking for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to keep residents and nursing homes safe through strong accountability.
CMS, keep the nursing home fines tough on those facilities that harm our loved ones.