Trump administration rolls back fines against nursing homes as violations mount
30 December 2017
The Trump administration is drastically cutting back fines against nursing home owners that have been cited for violations against elderly patients. The move, reported by the New York Times over the Christmas holiday weekend, comes as serious violations such as neglect and mistreatment against nursing home residents continue to rise unabated.
Donald Trump is responding to a direct request from the nursing home industry that the Medicare health insurance program’s penalty protocols be changed. “It is critical that we have relief,” wrote Mark Parkinson, president of the American Health Care Association, in a letter to then president-elect Trump in a letter in December 2016.
In keeping with the administration’s slashing of rules and regulations which impinge on the profiteering of big business, under new rules Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulators are now being discouraged from giving nursing homes fines if a violation—even for the most serious cases of mistreatment—was a “one-time mistake,” according to the Times.
Since 2013, nearly 6,500 nursing homes, or four of every 10, have been cited at least once for a serious violation, according to federal records. According to Kaiser Health News (KHN), basic steps to prevent infections—such as washing hands, isolation of contagious patients and keeping sick nurses and aides away from residents—are routinely ignored in nursing homes across the US.
A KHN analysis of four years of federal inspection records showed that while 74 percent of nursing homes have been cited for failing to properly control infections, disciplinary action such as substantial fines are rare. Even before…