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⭒ New Developments

CMS Agrees: Something Stinks About Nursing Home Discharges

Following more national news stories (from Forbes and the Washington Post) about illegal and inappropriate nursing home discharges, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a Survey and Certification memo announcing an initiative to address them. The new initiative is focused on “encouraging states to pursue” projects to reduce illegal discharges and requiring state survey agencies to transfer discharge cases to the federal regional office for review. While the success of an initiative that commits to no enhanced enforcement is doubtful, the CMS memo is nonetheless important because it acknowledges that discharges: (1) are very often problematic and can lead to devastating outcomes for residents; (2) are commonly “driven by payment concerns” instead of the welfare of the residents; (3) based on an inability to meet the needs of residents “should be rare” since facilities are required to thoroughly assess their capacity to care for all residents when they are admitted.