Policy Changes Aside, Excellent Care is Our Standard

Changes in policies regarding fines for noncompliant senior care facilities have made headlines in recent news, and sparked important conversations about the relationship between regulation and quality of care.

 

A New York Times article calls the looser regulations a “Victory for [the] Industry.” Members of the American Health Care Association and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have been critical of strict policies and heavy fines. They have argued that the administrative work related to regulation detracted from the time that staff in facilities for the elderly could spend caring for residents. In addition, they have criticized the application of daily fines for violations rather than one-time fines; in some cases daily fines have added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

On the other hand, weakening regulations puts an already vulnerable population at even higher risk of abuse and neglect. In the case of one facility whose improper care resulted in the death of a resident in 2016, fines totaled $282,954, but under the new regulations they would have been fined less than $21,000. Advocates for nursing care reform point out that fines at this level become simply part of the “cost of doing business” (New York Times), and are not a real deterrent to policy violations.

 

While this may seem like a victory for Helping Hands because we appear to be on the “industry side” of the issue, truly we are on the family side. We hold ourselves, and every facility we have the good fortune to be involved with, to the highest care standards, regardless of changes in industry policy. No level of abuse or neglect is acceptable and we are proud to provide excellent, above standard care to our clients every day.

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