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⭒ CANHR Advocate Did You Know Articles

Role of Nursing Home Residents’ “Outside” Physicians

While nursing homes are required to employ medical directors to oversee the care of residents, under federal and state law residents are still legally entitled to rely on the recommendations of their own personal physicians outside the facility as well.

Pursuant to 42 Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”) Section 483.21, initial care plans developed upon admission to a nursing home must address physician orders, while comprehensive care plans dictating ongoing treatment at the facility must be developed with not only facility staff but with “professionals in disciplines as determined by the resident’s needs or as requested by the resident.

Furthermore, 22 California Code of Regulations (“CCR”) Section 72301 provides that a nursing home “shall ensure that all orders, written by a person lawfully authorized to prescribe, shall be carried out unless contraindicated.” This language is echoed by 22 CCR Section 72313(a)(2) which requires that “[m] edications and treatments shall be administered as prescribed.”

If a nursing home refuses to follow the orders of a resident’s outside physician, residents and their family members should reach out to CANHR staff, who can assist with filing a complaint with regulators.