White House Wants to Reform Nursing Home Safety

Times are changing for nursing homes.

For the last several decades, American residents and their families have generally expressed widespread dissatisfaction with the state of nursing home care. After all, the homes are universally expensive (and growing costlier all the time), and the ballooning bills sting all the more when prices don’t seem to reflect the quality of the services provided.

In the last year alone, though, we’ve seen several efforts by the federal government to overhaul the American nursing home — or at least make its experience more reliable for residents.

A new ratings system went into effect in early 2015, making it much harder for deficient nursing homes to earn high marks. Before then, ratings were largely based on the homes’ own self-reported, unverified, oft-misleading data.

Now the White House wants to bolster the minimum-standard requirements that nursing homes must meet in order to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid payments.

NPR reports that the new regulations would emphasize individualized care, enhanced quality of life, same-sex equality, better meal provision, new standards for antipsychotic medications, and safer facilities, among many other things. The proposal would also update rules about how nursing homes communicate in light of the digital age.

“Today’s measures set high standards for quality and safety in nursing homes and long-term care facilities,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

Higher standards are no doubt a welcome development for residents, patients, and families all across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the entire United States.

Nursing homes play an indispensable role in American healthcare. Families need to know that the people they entrust with a loved one’s care are up to the task. The newly proposed regulations may help toward that goal.

It is encouraging to see so much positive change afoot for nursing homes within a single calendar year — especially given that the assisted-living field was, historically, slow to evolve.

One thing that isn’t likely to change anytime soon, though, is cost. In fact, back in May, we told you that median price for private nursing home care in the U.S. had risen to $91,250 a year — an all-time high — and that rates in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are even higher (and climbing).

Nevertheless, it is entirely possible to manage nursing home payments without breaking the bank. Here at Medina Law Group, we help people plan proactively for their future while also making the most of insurance, Medicaid, and other resources to fund their healthcare needs, including long-term care.

Give us a call to learn more about how we can help.