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Nursing home violations to result in lower fines

Nursing homes are supposed to be places where our vulnerable loved ones receive the care they need from people who treat them with dignity and compassion. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen at every facility.

Too often, nursing homes patients are mistreated, overmedicated and ignored as a result of issues like staffing shortages and financial cuts. While these situations can lead to safety and health infractions by a nursing home, recent changes by the Trump administration has lowered the penalties for the infractions. This could further compromise the care patients receive (or don't receive).

What are the changes?

As explained in more detail in this article, the Trump administration has changed or rolled back many regulations and rules established during the previous administration. Most importantly, instead of fining a facility for every day it is not compliant with regulations, the current administration issues a single fine for about 66 percent of infractions.

This has resulted in lower fines and less motivation to quickly address violations. In fact, the average fine for endangering or injuring a resident has dropped from $41,260 to $28,405. 

How might this affect care?

Facilities that do not comply with safety and health regulations put patients in danger. Without the threat of higher fines that accumulate by the day, facilities may allow unsafe conditions to persist.

This means that patients could be at higher risk of suffering injury or illness than they might have been a few years ago.

With all this in mind, readers should be especially mindful of the care and conditions at a loved one's nursing home facility. If there appears to be safety hazards, neglect or abuse occurring, it can be up to the family and friends of residents to take action against the facility.

This could require directly confronting operators or filing a lawsuit. In either case, legal guidance could prove to be vital in pursuing a satisfactory outcome.

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