Over 40% of COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes. It is expected that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will increasingly monitor compliance regulations in nursing homes under the new Biden administration. President Joe Biden’s pick Xavier Becerra for HHS has been vocal against the nursing home regulations that existed under former President Trump. The Biden administration may also take on the task of potentially moving older Americans to community-based care programs instead of the long-term facilities.
Harvard professor David Grabowski expects Becerra to also take on the task to ensure that nursing home residents are more safer than they were under the Trump administration. Grabowski was quoted saying, “In a lot of ways the Trump administration has been slow to handle a lot of the issues in nursing homes, and has pushed a lot of emphasis off to the off to the states.” This is expected to change under the new administration.
Todd Selby, a health care attorney, stated that nursing homes should expect more infection control surveys. It is also expected that nursing homes will receive more Civil Money Penalties (CMPs) due to survey deficiencies as more inspectors will be able to conduct in-person surveys in the upcoming months.
Long-term care facilities who were recipients of funds from the CARES Act will be affected beyond the pandemic as enforcement and compliance become a top priority. According to Hedy Silver Rubinger, HHS will “pursue the questionable or non-compliant retention of CARES Act funds.” It is also anticipated that several years later from now, nursing homes can expect to be audited to show compliance. For the same reason, nursing homes that don’t currently have compliance programs should consider creating one.