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Medicare won't be as tough on noncompliant nursing homes

As part of its overall effort to deregulate the world of business and medical care, the Trump Administration has announced that it is changes its approach to how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, will fine nursing homes who ignore or otherwise fail to comply with the CMS's standards for the safety and care nursing home patients.

The change is supposed to benefit nursing homes which, generally speaking, have a decent safety record and which are obviously trying to keep their patients safe and healthy. Should there be a safety lapse, even if it results in a serious nursing home injury, the change makes it less likely that the homes will get fined at all.

If they do get fined, then the fine will be as if there were one violation; gone will be the onerous daily fines which could land a nursing home with a bill of several hundred thousand dollars in penalties.

According to the nursing homes and others who either lobbied for or supported this change, the idea behind relaxing the penalties is that it will make nursing homes a little less focused on strictly complying with even the most technical regulations. Presumably, they will be able to focus more on actually helping their patients.

Critics of the change, however, are not so sure, and claim that the move further weakens and already less than stellar enforcement system, meaning nursing homes have a free pass to put patient safety on the backburner.

However one views the change, it is important for Granite City, Illinois, residents to remember that, without regard to whether or how much the government fines a nursing home after a patient gets hurt or dies on their watch, a civil lawsuit seeking compensation from the home is also a legal option for securing justice.

Source: The Hill, "Trump admin rolling back use of fines against nursing homes," Rebecca Savransky, Dec. 26, 2017.

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