An incoming government administration may not only create new regulations; it may enforce existing regulations in a different way. Both methods of change can have a substantial impact for the entities regulated as well as the people the law is intended to protect. Some nursing homes in Ohio may be noticing a change in government policy by the Trump administration.
Recent data suggests that the Medicare & Medicaid Services organization CMS is more lenient toward nursing homes found in violation of health and safety rules. According to federal records, the average fine for violators dropped by nearly 30% since the new administration took over.
One reason for the decrease in fines may be due to the method in which they are calculated. Under the previous administration, fines were calculated on a per-diem basis. Fines were levied for each day a nursing home was out of compliance. Another reason may be that the CMS now offers a “discount” for those who do not dispute or fight the sanction. The new administration institutes a single fine. Some believe the change in policy was at the request of lobbyists representing care facilities.
On the other hand, fines are levied more frequently than in the past. The number of actual fines increased 28%. Even with the increase in the number of fines, the cumulative money levied is $7 million less than in 2016. At present, no one is sure of the effect the new enforcement methods will have on patient care. Some fear that lower fines will not have a deterrent effect on nursing home abuse.
For those injured due to negligent care, a civil suit may be the best recourse. An attorney experienced in nursing home claims may be of assistance restitution for injury. Though violation of a safety regulation is a form of negligence, failing to provide reasonable care is still the overriding rule.