When President Trump entered office in January 2017, the nursing home industry lobbied his administration to change the way the government fines facilities that have harmed or endangered residents. The pressure worked, and the Trump administration rolled back regulations that were implemented by the Obama administration. As a result, fines against non-compliant nursing homes in New Mexico and elsewhere have dropped sharply.
In 2016, which was the last year of the Obama administration, nursing home fines averaged $41,260. However, under Trump, the fines now average only $28,405. This is because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, stopped fining nursing homes for each day they were in violation of a regulation. Instead, they began fining facilities just once for around two-thirds of infractions. Critics of the move say that it gives nursing homes less incentive to remedy dangerous situations and come into compliance.
As of yet, CMS has not changed another Obama-era policy that requires the agency to fine facilities each time a resident suffers harm. That policy led to a spike in smaller fines, but it hasn't completely counteracted the loss of larger fines caused by the Trump administration's decision to do away with most daily fines. In 2016, CMS collected a total of $127 million in fines under the Obama administration. Between April 2017 and March 2018, that number fell to $112 million.
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms, including neglect, physical abuse and mental abuse. Families who suspect their loved one is suffering from nursing home neglect or abuse may contact an attorney for assistance. The attorney may be able to carefully review the case and recommend the best course of action. For example, it might be advisable to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other related damages.