Federal Agency Takes Steps to Counter Low Nursing Home Staffing Levels in Maryland and Nationwide

Study after study has shown that one of the root causes of Maryland nursing home abuse and neglect is understaffing. Federal regulations require that a Registered Nurse is on staff seven days a week for at least eight consecutive hours a day. And in general, the fewer qualified staff members a nursing home has, the more work each staff member must take on. Without a registered nurse on staff, the level of care a nursing home can provide is greatly limited. At some point, overworked employees face a reduced ability to perform the functions of their job with the patience and care that is required.

According to a recent industry news report, a few weeks ago the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new rule that will increase the agency’s oversight of nursing homes in an attempt to lower the number of homes that operate with reduced staffing levels. States have always been required to survey nursing home staffing levels. However, under the old rule, only 10% of those surveys had to be conducted during the weekend and off-peak hours. However, the new rule requires that state conduct 50% of surveys during weekend and off-peak times.

The new rule uses payroll-based journal data to identify the 20% of nursing homes in each state with the lowest level of staffing on the weekends and during off-peak hours. Once the 20% in each state is identified, the CMS will provide the names of the facilities to state agencies. Each state will then be responsible for following up with additional surveys. If a facility remains out of compliance, it will be sanctioned accordingly. Understaffing can also result in a nursing home receiving a low star-rating.

Not surprisingly, the nursing home industry was opposed to the new rule. According to one spokesperson, there is a “nationwide staffing problem” in nursing homes; however, he claimed that the new CMS rule did not take any proactive action to remedy the problem. Instead, he argued that the new rule focused more on penalizing non-compliant nursing homes than ensuring that nursing homes were adequately staffed. Notably, the spokesperson did not offer an alternative solution to remedy the problem.

Is Your Loved One at Risk?

If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home, and believe that they are not receiving the treatment they need and deserve, contact the dedicated Maryland nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we have been providing Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. nursing home residents and their families with compassionate and aggressive representation for years. We offer free consultations to nursing home residents and their families to discuss their situation and explain how we can help pursue a claim for compensation against all responsible parties. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule your free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Federal Government Attempts to Combat Underreporting of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Maryland and Nationwide, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published November 14, 2018.

Veterans Reportedly “Routinely Receiving Substandard Care” in VA Nursing Home, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published November 29, 2018.

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