A letter sent to the Trump administration Wednesday by 17 attorney generals from across the nation, including California’s, is urging federal agencies to reconsider the “regulatory rollback” of reforms under the Obama administration meant to prevent nursing home patient abuse, fraud and neglect.
The letter was sent in anticipation of the June rule-making process where several the 2016 nursing home oversight reforms will be revisited to deem whether they are too burdensome, according to a news release from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
“It is our duty to be vigilant of the health and safety of our aging loved ones. America’s seniors who reside in skilled nursing facilities deserve quality care from trained and capable staff,” Becerra said during a news conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday. “California has made great strides in holding accountable those who take advantage of vulnerable communities. The Trump administration is now attempting to strip our seniors of crucial protections that shield them from nursing home abuse, neglect and exploitation. This is reckless. The California Department of Justice stands ready to take any action necessary to protect our loved ones.”
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began implementing long-term nursing home care reforms in 2016 meant to prevent the spread of infections, improve staff training, provide protections against abuse against Medicaid and Medicare patients, and ban arbitration agreements.
The reforms are set to rollout over three phases, but the second set of phases and certain penalties against nursing homes were delayed in November by 18 months to allow more time to inform the nursing homes of the changes.
The centers also lowered the amount and frequency of fines against nursing homes for past violations.
“If allowed to proceed, recent regulatory changes will not only threaten the mental and physical security of some of the most vulnerable residents of our states, but also potentially create additional challenges for [State Medicaid Fraud Control Units] investigation and prosecution of grievances, violations, and crimes occurring in [skilled nursing facilities],” the letter states. “We therefore urge you not to lower the level of regulatory oversight.”
A state audit released earlier this month found California agencies oversight of nursing homes was lacking during a 10-year period when patient care violations were increasing.
The Peck Law Group, APC represents Elders, Seniors, and Dependent Adults that are the subject of Physical Abuse and Neglect in Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living, and Long Term Care Facilities. Please contact us if you or your loved one has been injured. We will help you!!!
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