Senior living is one of the highest regulated industries. And it is no wonder why senior living provides direct care to a population dependent on assistance in their activities of daily living.
Due to such prescribed provisions of care, federal and state regulations are in place as a means to mitigate risks and to offer consequences to incidents of abuse or neglect to residents by the caregiver.
Changes By Administration
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are responsible for surveying nursing home facilities to ensure these regulations are followed. If not then CMS reserves the right to administer citations and fines to the respective facility.
To reduce government overreach in businesses, President Trump and his administration have targeted CMS to reduce the administering of fines against nursing homes in the event of a citation of abuse or neglect.
The decision comes at an unprecedented time in the senior living industry’s history. In recent years, shortages of direct care workers and an increase of seniors in need of care have created a burden on many facilities who provide care. Long hours and demanding work have increased the likelihood of abuse or neglect in patient care. As the number of seniors in need of direct care continues to grow, the senior living industry will assuredly receive an increase in reports of elder abuse and neglect.
Those in support of President Trump’s fines reduction mention that federal and state surveyors are too focused on wrongdoings in nursing home settings. Such focus forces administrators and care providers to concentrate too heavily on paperwork and documentation and less quality time with the residents.
Those in opposition of the new policy’s, however, see the fines reduction as a step backward in quality measures and negates the progress nursing homes have made over the past thirty years since federal and state regulations were established.
The National Center on Elder Abuse cites that “A May 2008 study conducted by the U.S. General Accountability Office revealed that state surveys understate problems in licensed facilities: 70% of state surveys miss at least one deficiency, and 15% of surveys miss actual harm and immediate jeopardy of a nursing home resident.”
If such oversight already occurs by surveyors, what will happen when they are tasked with the responsibility to reduce fines and citations for nursing home deficiencies?
While the argument for the need for more quality of time spent between seniors and their caregivers is understandable many advocacy groups, see the investment in workforce development and the retention of direct care workers as the most viable option in preventing nursing home abuse and neglect.
Government survey was established to monitor the quality of care provided in seniors living facilities. The consequence of a reduction in monitoring remains unclear, however, as current studies have found understating problems in licensed facilities is already an issue. The safety and well-being of seniors receiving care services should be of the utmost importance.