The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, known as CMS, has recently announced new initiatives to protect nursing home residents. Specifically, CMS has committed to expanding state surveys of nursing homes.
Guidance to state surveyors
In recent guidance, CMS gave state surveyors instructions on how to address their significant backlogs of recertification surveys. CMS also advised them to more critically examine the nursing homes themselves, with a focus on potential medical malpractice, like abuse and neglect, staff competency levels and antipsychotic use that could endanger patients. They have also been instructed to look at other areas of care, including depression, loss of function and mobility, unplanned weight loss, pressure ulcers, etc.
This recent guidance is not just advisory. Indeed, if any state does not comply with these new oversight guidelines, immediately, they could lose 5% of their CARES Act funding, along with additional loses for ongoing noncompliance. Over the past year or two, many states have put recertification surveys on hold, but with this new guidance, CMS emphasized that they want surveyors to resume regular operations immediately. This is because the backlog is only continuing to grow.
Medical malpractice and nursing homes
Many forget that medical care providers are not just those in the hospital, but also include all medical care providers, including those provided in nursing homes. If someone in an Indianapolis, Indiana, nursing home experiences abuse or negligent, along with other causes of action, they may have a claim for medical malpractice. To help avoid patients experiencing these distressing and dangerous conditions though, CMS is now proactively ensuring nursing homes are not committing negligent acts.