The Trump administration is reportedly rolling back the use of fines against nursing homes that have been cited for violations such as neglect or mistreatment.
The move comes after the nursing home industry requested the change in the Medicare program's penalty protocols, The New York Times reported over the holiday weekend.
The American Health Care Association had argued that inspectors were too focused on finding wrongdoings at nursing homes instead of assisting the facilities.
“It is critical that we have relief,” Mark Parkinson, the group’s president, wrote in a letter to Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE, then president-elect, in December 2016.
According to the Times, nearly 6,500 nursing homes have received at least one citation for a serious violation since 2013 and about two-thirds of those have been fined by Medicare.
Under the new rules, regulators are now discouraged from giving nursing homes fines, in some cases. Fines for some homes may also be decreased as a result of the new guidelines.
According to the newspaper, the new guidelines have been slowly implemented throughout the year.
Dr. Kate Goodrich, director of clinical standards and quality at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, argued that regulations in the past have interfered with nursing homes' ability to give people the best service.
“Rather than spending quality time with their patients, the providers are spending time complying with regulations that get in the way of caring for their patients and doesn’t increase the quality of care they provide,” Goodrich said.
Still, Toby Edelman, a senior attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, said that the revised penalties have "pretty much emasculated enforcement, which was already weak," according to the Times.