The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently indicated that it is reviewing federal nursing home regulations for potential changes. This is significant news, as the federal regulations have been relatively stable since their initial adoption in the 1990’s. The existing regulations have been extremely important in protecting residents, although there are certain areas in which the regulations fall short.
As part of a workgroup convened by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, NSCLC worked to develop extensive comments on how the regulations should be revised to better protect residents. Among other things, the comment letter recommends that staffing levels be increased and, in order reduce discrimination against Medicaid-eligible residents, that Medicaid-certified nursing homes not be allowed to segregate their Medicaid-eligible residents in Medicaid “distinct parts.” Also, the comment letter emphasizes that the regulation review process should not in any way weaken existing protections.
In addition, in coalition with eleven LGBT organizations, NSCLC drafted and submitted a separate comment letter that highlights concerns of LGBT nursing home residents. This letter advocates for an expansive definition of a resident’s “family,” along with strengthened visitation rights and other resident protections.