The Trump administration has relaxed regulations on levying fines against nursing homes, The New York Times reports.
The change in policy comes as part of a larger effort toward deregulation under President Trump. New guidelines discourage CMS offices from charging nursing homes with fines for one-off events and mistakes, along with moving away from daily fines in favor of one-time penalties.
Intentional harm or neglect will continue to be grounds for heavy fines under the new guidelines.
The nursing home industry has consistently lobbied for decreased governmental scrutiny, arguing that heavier regulations move the focus away from patients and toward mere compliance. Dr. Kate Goodrich, director of clinical standards and quality at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, agrees:
Rather than spending quality time with their patients, the providers are spending time complying with regulations that get in the way of caring for their patients and doesn’t increase the quality of care they provide.
But advocates for nursing home patients see the new legislation as detrimental to patient safety. Lower potential for punishment could mean more lax care and less diligence, increasing the likelihood of patient harm.