Good morning and Happy Monday as we start off a new week from the Kaufman Law blog! Today we are switching gears from featuring the top safest vehicles available today to discussing wellbeing where it matters most: When an elderly family member is being taken care of in a facility.
On Friday, the New York Times posted this article discussing the federal government's announcement on Thursday (February 12th) that the way nursing homes are measured would be changing. The way that these measures would be changing is by way of adjusting the rating curve by which nursing homes are scored. This adjustment would make it less easy for nursing homes to earn four and five-star government ratings, essentially raising the standard that nursing homes across the country must meet to be top notch.
Currently, the federal websiteNursing Home Compare, overseen by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is the most widely used tool for evaluating and comparing the over fifteen thousand nursing homes in the United States, despite its reputation for relying on self-reported data that goes without verification. In fact, in August of last year, the New York Times posted a related article discussing nursing homes that historically held an array of quality issues but still received top government ratings-homes that self-reported ratings of their own staffing levels and quality measures statistics that were not confirmed by the federal government. The following October, the federal government apparently announced that nursing homes would be required to submit quarterly staffing level data as well as be obligated to undergo a new federal audit program to verify quality measure accuracy. The staffing level data was to be confirmed by every nursing home's payroll electronically, and the auditing program was to be done by federal officials using existing quality standards.
The further changes announced last week will focus more in-depth in the quality measures area of the overall ratings of nursing homes. The bar will be raised for each nursing home to earn an overall high score on a rating system of one to five stars, and much of this score will be dependent upon information collected about each patient. Although most of the specifics were not reported regarding how patient information will translate to higher overall nursing home scoring, the use of anti-psychotic drugs on patients who suffer from dementia would be taken into account. Historically, anti-psychotic drugs have reportedly been given "inappropriately" to elderly dementia patients, and this observation has lead the federal government to renew its focus on patient treatment as an overwhelming factor in determining the overall quality of nursing homes. The full plans and details of all of the new changes in nursing home standards are to be made public on February 20th.
Nursing home negligence is a subject and case matter that no family wants to have to go through. Often, when a nursing home is found at fault, the review of the nursing home medical records is the one of the most important processes. Every patient in a nursing home deserves a high standard of care and attention. We handle these cases at Kaufman Law with the utmost respect, attention to detail, and quality care. Hopefully these new higher standards expected of nursing homes will decrease the amount of negligence that occurs inside these facilities. For more information on nursing home negligence, visit our related practice area page here.
Until tomorrow, have a safe and warm Monday!