New Federal Advisement May Affect the Safety of New York Assisted Living Residents

by David Goldfarb

During his first year in office, President Donald Trump has worked to reduce as many federal regulations as he can. There are pros and cons to any federal regulation. Opponents and supporters will continue to debate the prudence of these measures, but in the meantime, real lives are affected by the removal of safety protections.

One important area of concern is in the assisted living and managed care industries. Relaxed fines and uneven enforcement of federal safety regulations have left many care facility residents exposed to unnecessary hazards at assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities. Determining how to cover the costs of assisted living and long-term care requires advanced planning and funds, so you should understand any changes in the law that may affect your care.

The Change in Federal Regulations

According to the New York Times, the long-term care industry lobbied the president for changes to Medicare penalty protocols. The industry complained that under Obama-era administrators, federal inspectors focused only on wrongdoing and not on how to help assisted living and long-term care facilities improve care for residents. The new guidelines discourage regulators from imposing fines in certain situations—including some involving the deaths of residents. These changes are expected to result in lower overall fines for assisted living and long-term health care facilities in the United States.

Violations are stunningly common occurrences within the managed care industry. Federal records show that, since 2013, nearly 40 percent of facilities in America were cited for at least one serious violation. About two-thirds of those facilities received fines as a result of their violations. Reducing fines is almost guaranteed to prevent improvement of these violations. We can expect many facilities to become worse.

Accountability for Identified Violations

Sadly, many of the identified violations are avoidable. The Los Angeles Times reports that infections are “rampant” in American assisted living and long-term care facilities. Four years of federal inspection records show that a whopping 74 percent of U.S. facilities were cited for lapses in infection control. In California, the number was 90 percent.

Yet, in spite of this frequent and common problem, fines were rare. Only 1.3 percent of the cited facilities faced financial penalties for their failures. The lack of financial responsibility might explain why many facilities offend repeatedly, and consistently fail to protect their residents from preventable infections.

When federal regulations fail to hold facilities accountable, you must carefully consider all decisions related to long-term care. This includes costs, quality of life, and the reputation of the assisted living facility.

Protect Your Loved Ones With the Counsel of a New York Assisted Living Facility Attorney

Don’t leave yourself or your loved ones unprotected and paying for sub-par long-term care. The elder law attorneys at Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin have decades of experience helping with every aspect of long-term care planning. Call (212) 387-8400 or write to us today to schedule your consultation.