Federal Nursing Home Reform Act Compliance

In a recent blog, our nursing home lawyers based in Baltimore, Maryland discussed the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, (NHRA) and the standards and services legally available to residents under the act, to prevent nursing home negligence, abuse, or substandard care.

The main objective of the NHRA is to make sure all nursing home residents are entitled to receive quality care and attention in a nursing home environment that improves and maintains their highest mental and physical health and psychosocial well being. To secure that quality care is provided in homes, the NHRA requires that homes provide each resident with certain services, and a Bill of Rights.

As our Baltimore nursing home attorneys reported previously in a blog, nursing homes receive Medicare and Medicaid payments for long-term resident care only if they receive state certification to be in compliance with the NHRA requirements. To monitor whether or not nursing homes meet the requirements, the act established a certification process that requires each state to conduct surveys in the home that are unannounced and poised at irregular intervals, at least once every 15 months.

The surveys reportedly focus on the residents’ quality of care, rights, quality of life, and the home’s provision of resident services. Targeted surveys are also performed, with resident interviews, and any nursing home negligence or other resident complaints against the home are required to be investigated.

If the surveyors find that a nursing home is not in compliance with the NHRA, then a process begins to enforce the law. Under the process, the severity of the nursing home deficiency, like whether a resident is put in immediate jeopardy, or whether the deficiency is an isolated incident or a widespread pattern within the home, determines the remedy. For some nursing home violations, the homes are given the opportunity to correct the deficiency before any remedies are imposed.

According to AARP, to enforce a nursing home to comply with the NHRA, the following sanctions can be imposed:

• State monitoring
• A plan of correction that is directed
• In-service staff training that is directed
• Penalties—civil monetary
• Denial of new Medicare or Medicaid admissions payments
• Denial of all Medicaid or Medicare patient payments
• Temporary management
• Provider agreement termination

At Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC, our Maryland Nursing Home Attorneys fight for the rights of residents to experience a nursing home environment that is free from abuse and negligence, and that promotes the health and safety of the resident in Maryland and Washington D.C. Contact our attorneys today.

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, AARP Public Policy Institute, February 2001
History of Nursing Homes, Nursing Home Abuse Resource

Related Web Resources:

Institute of Medicine (IOM)

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

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