Most seniors in the United States are not financially independent, and at least partially rely on federal programs to help them to pay for health care, housing, and other expenses. Because the federal government finances so much of the senior care in the U.S through the Medicare and Social Security programs, the Federal Government has control over the quality of care given to seniors who are patients at facilities that accept Medicare payments. The federal government often uses this regulatory power to require nursing homes to provide better care for their patients.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an administrative branch of the Federal government, recently released guidelines for nursing home care to address two areas of concern that have arisen in the past few years. Specifically, the CMS guidelines address issues with overcrowding in nursing homes and the lack of appropriate infection control measures being taken to protect patients and residents from infection. These new sets of guidelines wil go into force in October 2022.
Our national experience addressing the Covid-19 pandemic brought problems in nursing homes to the forefront of Americans’ attention. Overcrowded rooms, in conjunction with poor infection control measures, resulted in nursing homes becoming a hotbed for infection during the initial phase of the pandemic. These experiences have taught public health experts lessons, which are reflected in the new guidelines. The CMS established that nursing homes are required to have an infection control specialist staffed onsite at the nursing home for at least 8 hours per day. Additionally, the guidelines encourage nursing homes to limit occupancy in rooms to two residents per room. If properly followed, these new guidelines should protect nursing home residents from avoidable infection.
Are Federal Nursing Home Guidelines Mandatory?
While these new guidelines will hopefully help improve patient outcomes in the future, not all of the guidelines are mandatory, and they will not apply to all nursing homes nationwide. Family members of current or future nursing home residents should understand that the issuance of these guidelines demonstrates an ongoing problem in the nursing home industry, and extra care should be taken when choosing a facility for a loved one. For families with a loved one who is currently undergoing abuse or neglect at a nursing home, there is recourse available.
Contact a Maryland Nursing Home Attorney Today
If you have a family member who is living at a Florida nursing home and experiencing substandard care, you may be able to take legal action to protect your loved one from abuse or neglect. Nursing homes are primarily for-profit businesses, and patient needs can be forgotten when the bottom line is at stake. Your loved one deserves better. The dedicated South Florida nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen have built our careers defending victims of medical malpractice, and we pride ourselves on protecting elderly members of our communities. If you have questions about a potential claim, contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free consultation today.