New Federal Rules on Nursing Home Safety

The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued substantial new regulations to protect the safety and healthcare rights of nursing home residents.  The changes include:

  • A ban — currently not enforceable because of a preliminary injunction pending an appeal of this part of the new regulations — on forced arbitration agreements in nursing home contracts, prohibiting the use of pre-dispute binding arbitration agreements.  This part of the rule is suspended until resolution of a legal challenge.
  • Training requirements for long-term care facility staff members in caring for residents with dementia and in preventing elder abuse.
  • Ensuring that long-term care facilities take into consideration the health of residents when deciding how many staff and what kinds of staff are needed to properly take care of its residents.
  • Improving care planning, including discharge planning.
  • Allowing dietitians and therapy providers to write orders within their areas of expertise if a physician delegates the responsibility and state licensing laws allow.
  • Updating the long-term care facility’s infection prevention and control program, including requiring an infection prevention and control officer and an antibiotic stewardship program with antibiotic use protocols and monitoring of antibiotic use.

The final rule is available on the Federal Register at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection.

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