Obama administration pledges to update nursing home regulations

By maria collazo

The state of nursing homes in America might be changing soon due to a proposed set of rules the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released.

According to our sister publication Healthcare Global, the rules would revise the requirements that nursing homes have to meet to participate in the federal programs. It would be the first update to requirements in 24 years.

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“Today's measures set high standards for quality and safety in nursing homes and long-term care facilities,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a statement. “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.”

How nursing home staff members are properly trained on caring for residents with dementia and in preventing elder abuse is just one of the proposed changes. Other changes include improving care planning, including discharge planning for all residents with involvement of the facility's interdisciplinary team and consideration of the caregiver's capacity, giving residents information they need for follow-up, and ensuring that instructions are transmitted to any receiving facilities or services.

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The CMS additionally wants every nursing home to have a director of food and nutrition service to ensure that residents receive proper nutrition. Facilities also have to provide food and drinks that take into consideration a resident’s allergies, intolerance and preferences, according to the proposal.

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If finalized, the proposals would cost the nursing home industry $729 million in the first year the rule is in effect and $638 million in year two, according to the CMS.

Comments on the rule are due Sept. 16.

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