The COVID-19 pandemic has fostered a discussion of how to improve nursing homes. In general, there are two camps: the industry partisans who call for more collaboration from the federal government and better funding, and the critics who insist regulation should primarily take the form of steeper fines and other punitive actions against abusive and negligent long-term care facilities.
The first camp, the industry trade groups, is calling for more federal funding to combat the significant strains associated with personal protective equipment, staffing, and cratering Medicare revenue. Resident advocates are countering that nursing homes have plenty of money to cover those expenses and that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should fine the owners into better compliance.
Justice in Aging directing attorney Eric Carlson wrote his opinion on a recent White House coronavirus task force report: “Nursing homes have responsibility for training their own staff, with occasional assistance from federally funded Quality Improvement Organizations. For years, nursing home lobbyists have attempted to degrade this model.” Carlson also dismissed the commission’s conclusion that CMS needs to do more to provide on-the-ground support to nursing homes as “fanciful.”
With two different approaches, former acting CMS administrator Charlene Frizzera believes the answer is somewhere in between. While she agrees that the current fine structure can make it easy for operators to move past issues without fully addressing them, she also acknowledges that the areas CMS targets for improvement correction have to evolve with the changing face of senior care in the United States.
In an interview with Skilled Nursing News, Frizzera discussed her vision for reform in the space, as well as what the government should do now to support facilities during the pandemic. Overall, she believes performance issues need to be addressed, particularly regarding what the government can do to ensure improved performance and quality in nursing homes.
In conclusion, Frizzera had this to say: “When we get through the horrible surge, and the situation we’re in now, I do think — and I hope — good, smart nursing facilities are thinking about that moving forward. What do we want to be? And what do we want to look like when this is over? Because we can completely change the dynamic of health care, by reinventing and changing the way we do business.”
If you have a loved one in a skilled nursing facility and believe inadequate or improper care has resulted in injuries or suffering, Thomas Law Offices may be able to help. Contact us today to learn more about your family’s legal rights and options.