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New federal policy more lenient on nursing home mistreatment

The decision to move your elderly parent into a nursing home has been a difficult one. You know you can’t care for them yourself, but you’re also worried about the quality of care they may receive in a senior living facility.

You may assume that government regulations help to enforce quality care in nursing homes. But new policies under the current administration have shifted to protect nursing home administrators – rather than their residents.

Less serious consequences

Under a policy that went into effect this year, nursing homes found to be mistreating residents are not punished as severely as they had been in the past. Ultimately, this means that facilities may not provide high-quality care to their residents because they do not need to worry about incurring steep fines.

The new policy has rolled back regulation on nursing homes. It also sets a limit on the amount of money that a nursing home in violation of such regulations can be fined. The cap on fees is set at $21,393. In addition, nursing homes who do not contest the infraction will receive a 35% discount on this fine – resulting in a fee of $13,905.

While this may still seem like a high price for a nursing home to pay, it affects small nursing homes disproportionately. For large, multi-million-dollar senior living businesses, such fines have a negligible impact on their bottom line.

What this means for residents

Senior policy advocates have widely criticized the current administration’s new policy. It greatly limits the consequences a nursing home faces for resident mistreatment. It creates an environment where large corporations have the power to act recklessly. Ultimately, it makes nursing home residents less safe.

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