Could Nursing Home Regulations Be on the Chopping Block?, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA

In the last months of the Obama administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services enacted sweeping new regulations on nursing homes. Some elder law advocates fear they might be repealed by Congress or the Trump administration.

Nursing home care in the U.S. is uneven. The quality of care can vary greatly between facilities. That is unlikely to change. However, care can be improved by the federal government enacting new rules that apply to all nursing homes.

That is what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services attempted to do in the fall of 2016. New regulations were enacted that addressed many frequent patient complaints about their nursing homes.

As The New York Times reports in “Nursing Home Residents Gain New Restrictions,” some elder law advocates are concerned that the Republican-controlled Congress will repeal the new regulations or that the Trump administration will work to undo them.

Many of the new regulations are uncontroversial. They address basic quality of life provisions. For instance, regulations requiring that patients be allowed to have any visitors they want at any hour as long as the visitors do not disturb other residents and that residents be allowed to choose their own roommates as long as both of them agree.

Some regulations are more controversial, such as not allowing nursing homes to require that residents agree to binding arbitration to settle disputes and changing the rules about readmission to facilities after an extended hospital stay.

It is too early to say which, if any, of these new regulations will remain in place. Elder law advocates will be watching closely.

Reference: New York Times (Jan. 27, 2017) “Nursing Home Residents Gain New Restrictions.


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