Chayet & Danzo, LLC Chayet & Danzo, LLC www.Coloradoelderlaw.com
Call for a Free Initial Consultation
Direct 303-872-5980
Toll-Free 888-472-1088
Email Us
Compassion, talent and dedication: guiding colorado families and Their Trusted Advisors During Times of Need

Federal deregulation, lower fines for nursing homes concerning

An important part of our practice at Chayet & Danzo, LLC, is to help to protect vulnerable Colorado seniors in nursing homes, assisted living and other kinds of long-term care facilities. To that end, we advocate for quality, safe health care services as well as the prevention of elder neglect and abuse of all kinds.

We counsel family members about signs of abuse or neglect and about legal remedies for elderly victims harmed or neglected in long-term care.

Federal oversight in decline?

In March, NPR published an article about shrinking federal fines for regulatory violations under the Trump administration. For example, the average nursing home fine for a federal health or safety violation is $28,405 as compared to $41,260 in President Obama’s last year in office.

In 2016 under President Obama, total nursing home fines were $127 million. By comparison, under President Trump for the year from April 2017 through March 2018, these fines totaled $114 million.

NPR explained that while Trump’s administration is assessing more fines, they tend to be lower because it is more often imposing “per instance” fines for each violation on a one-time basis. By contrast, under Obama, officials were instructed to emphasize “per day” fines that are assessed every day until the facility corrects the deficit. This practice raised fine levels overall and likely had more teeth as a deterrent.

NPR concluded that nursing home industry pressure likely influenced Trump to handle fines this way. NPR cited a Harvard public health professor as sharing the opinion that for larger nursing homes, smaller fines are an ineffective incentive to improve conditions.

Other protections weakened

Nursing home contracts historically included arbitration clauses that required residents to resolve legal claims against their nursing homes using private arbitration instead of through lawsuits in court to get their complaints publicly before juries or judges. These arbitration provisions were often embedded in long agreements in small type that residents signed as a condition of admission. Even if they read and understood the contract, few residents were likely to think they could negotiate to drop this provision.

Obama did not allow nursing homes to impose arbitration clauses, but Trump rescinded this rule. In addition, his administration issued a moratorium on penalties for 18 months for violations of new safety regulations.

Reportedly, the federal agency involved (the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS) as well as representatives of the nursing home industry disagree with assertions that the changes will be negative for residents.

However, in a major op-ed from the Washington Post on March 25, Robert Gebelhoff asserted that these changes under Trump decrease nursing home accountability for substandard care. Gebelhoff cites one nonprofit that advocates for seniors as finding that Trump’s regulators have weakened oversight of “special focus facilities,” those nursing homes that received citations for “pattern[s] of serious infractions.”

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Watch Our Firm Video

We are the premier Elder Law firm in the Colorado region. We set ourselves apart from other law firms in the area with our talent, dedication, compassion and ability of our attorneys to handle any case in Elder Law. We serve Colorado families with experience and dignity in your time of need.

View More Videos

Denver Office
650 S.Cherry St., Suite 710
Denver, CO 80246

Toll Free: 1-888-472-1088
Phone: 303-872-5980
Fax: 303-355-8501
Denver Law Office Map

Edwards Office
105 Edwards Village Blvd.
#D-201
Edwards, CO 81632

Toll Free: 888-472-1088
Toll Free: 1-888-472-1088
Fax: 303-355-8501
Edwards Law Office Map

Aspen Office
600 East Hopkins Avenue
Suite 301
Aspen, CO 81611

Toll Free: 888-472-1088
Toll Free: 1-888-472-1088
Fax: 303-355-8501
Aspen Law Office Map

  • Rated by Super Lawyers Macro Chayet SuperLawyers.com
  • Rated by Super Lawyers Frank J. Danzo, III  SuperLawyers.com
  • Member National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. TM
  • Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Elder Law
  • 2015 Five Star Professional Wealth Manager Multi-Year Winner
  • Our new 2015 Medicaid Book: how to protect your Family's Assets from devastating nursing home costs
  • Proud Sponsor 2015-Denver Colorado Senior Law Day
  • Peer Review Rated For Ethical standards & Legal Ability TM Martindale Hubbell
  • Haystack