The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulates nursing homes and inspects nursing homes throughout the country. They levy fines on those nursing homes that are out of compliance with established legal and medical standards.
Nursing Home Regulations
Nursing homes have a legal and ethical obligation to provide a safe environment and compassionate care for their residents. CMS has the responsibility to regulate and inspect nursing homes throughout the United States. Over 15,000 nursing homes are accepting benefits and payments from both Medicare and Medicaid. In order to be eligible to receive this funding, these nursing homes must agree to follow the specific and strict guidelines established by CMS.
Any nursing home that is out of compliance with established standards will be fined and is required to correct any violations. Fines can be astronomical, averaging $28,000 per violation. Unfortunately, it is common for nursing homes to get fines. If a nursing home is found to be in violation, it can also be in jeopardy of losing its nursing home insurance policy.
Continued or repeated violations can interfere with the ability of a nursing home to stay in business. In fact, all nursing home inspections are available online if a person is searching for a suitable nursing home for their loved one.
Nursing Home Inspections
Nursing home inspections performed by CMS may occur at any time and without announcement. Additionally, state regulatory agencies may also conduct inspections of nursing homes and submit their findings to CMS. There are five major areas that nursing home inspections investigate:
- Administrative matters and staffing.
- Rights of residents.
- Resident care and services.
- Dietary procedures.
- Resident environment.
Administrative Matters and Understaffing
Staffing requirements of nursing homes are strict and ensure that each resident receives the proper individual care that they deserve. When nursing home staff levels are low, the consequences are catastrophic. Resident care and services, their diet, medication distribution, and the environment of the nursing home as a whole all suffer when nursing homes cut staff.
Administrative matters also directly impact resident health. For example, when a facility has limited staffing, preparation or delivery of medications are often incorrect or signs of infections or disease can go unnoticed.
With fewer employees to monitor patients, ensure proper medication delivery, and attend to needs like going to the bathroom or monitoring fall risks, nursing home facilities typically report greater injuries for residents. This could be grounds for the nursing home to get fines.
Resident’s Rights and Health Matters
Residents have the right to proper care, medicine, diet, and reasonable services during their stay in a nursing home. Elderly residents also have the right to monitoring and care if they have special needs. This can include residents who need help walking or who have medication side effects such as dizziness or aversion to certain foods.
Residents have the right to dietary and pharmaceutical safety, and to be free from abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect is on the rise, and many elderly residents suffer from physical and emotional injuries due to abuse.
If staff abuses patients, the facility may receive fines, be required to immediately change their procedures, and face legal charges.
If you believe your elderly loved one suffered abuse or neglect by the staff of their nursing home, you should contact not only the management of the nursing home, but also the police and National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA). Your loved one has rights and deserves to be in a safe environment free from abuse and neglect.
Nursing Home Non-Compliance
Nursing homes have a responsibility to understand and implement all regulations and standards required by law. While regulations do change, nursing homes must ensure that their facilities are compliant under the law. Lack of understanding or knowledge regarding regulations are not excuses for non-compliance.
Corrections must occur after violations. For issues such as administrative matters or dietary procedures, a manager must create a new plan to ensure compliance. If the investigation reveals more serious matters such as abuse or neglect of residents, a more extensive investigation must take place to ensure that residents are safe and that proper procedures are in place to ensure that every resident is free from harm.
The best practice for a nursing home is to conduct their own internal inspections and review their own practices on an ongoing basis to ensure that they are compliant with the law and that no abuse or neglect of any elderly residents has occurred.
Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer
If your elderly loved one suffered any kind of abuse in a nursing home, or you discover that your family member’s nursing home received fines for abuse and neglect, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to help you ensure the protection of their legal rights.