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CMS Seeks To Reduce Nursing Home Neglect, Abuse With Three-Year Initiative

As part of a new three-year initiative, government regulators hope to use fines stemming from nursing home neglect and safety violations to provide facilities with the necessary tools to provide better service to residents. 

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a Civil Money Penalty Reinvestment Program (CMPRP) last week, indicating that the initiative to rehabilitate failing facilities will be funded by the fines nursing homes are forced to pay.

“CMS is committed to ensuring nursing home residents are safe and receive quality care,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a press release. “We are pleased to offer nursing home staff practical tools and assistance to improve resident care and positively impact the lives of individuals in our nation’s nursing homes.”

Those tools will include a number of work products, including staff competency assessment tools, instructional guides, training webinars and technical assistance seminars. The goal of the tools is to improve staffing quality, avoid adverse events, and improve care for dementia patients.

The program was launched with the first toolkit, the Nursing Home Staff Competency Assessment. Two other toolkits, a Nursing Home Employee Satisfaction Survey and a Guide to Improving Nursing Home Employee Satisfaction, are coming soon, according to the CMS.

The agency indicates that many of the resources under the initiative, particularly the toolkits, will be free. In addition, facilities can apply for technical assistance from CMS staff assigned to the initiative, as well as consult with subject matter experts. The facilities can also apply for Civil Money Penalty (CMP) funding to help make quality improvements.

Through the program, Civil Money Penalty funds can be used to support and protect nursing home residents whose facilities have been closed or lost certification; relocating residents to homes, community-based care or other facilities; and projects insuring quality care initiatives by residents and family councils and other consumers.

The funds are barred from being used for capital expenses, survey and certification operations, supplies such as linen, food, heat and staffing projects lasting longer than three years.

The funds are not limited to long-term care facilities. Consumer advocacy organizations, resident or family councils, professional or state nursing home associations, and private contractors can also apply.

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