CMS Proposes New Rule to Strengthen LTC Oversight


Virgil Dickinson at Modern Healthcare reported that The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are currently proposing rules that would significantly improve quality of care for beneficiaries in nursing homes. CMS estimates that there are currently more than 1.5 million beneficiaries receiving treatment at more than 15,000 long-term care facilities across the country.

Announced by President Obama during the White House Conference on Aging, CMS’s new rule looks to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and infections while increasing overall quality of care and possible introducing new safety standards. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews said she believes that “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.”

The proposed changes include proper training, care planning, and discharge planning, as well as strengthening resident rights for all facilities. But the changes are not what’s going to stun the industry – it’s the cost. CMS estimates that the proposal would cost the long-term care industry $729 million in the first year and more than $630 million in year two.

While there are certainly proponents of the new rule, American Health Care Association (AHCA) SVP Dr. David Gifford has said that ACHA “would oppose such a large unfunded mandate, especially given the overall narrow margins of 1% to 3% that MedPAC calculates for skilled-nursing-care centers.” Organizations such as The Long Term Care Community Coalition would actually look to add more changes to the rule, such as new standards for staffing minimums.

Although we will not see any action on the rule until mid-September, it’s important to become involved if you feel that you would like to support or oppose the rule. Please read the full article at Modern Healthcare.