More than 100 lawmakers urge CMS to rethink long-term care requirements

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More than 120 House Representatives have joined in signing a letter that asks the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to “re-evaluate” the requirements of participation for long-term care providers.

The letter, sent Wednesday to CMS Administrator Seema Verma and new Department of Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Eric Hargan, warned of the financial toll the requirements, Phase 2 of which hits on Nov. 28, will take on skilled nursing facilities. The letter, spearheaded by Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH), also requests that CMS re-examine and delay some of the rule's provisions. Renacci is a former nursing home owner/operator.

The American Health Care Association called on members with relationships with their congressional representatives to urge them to sign the letter, citing the “doubling-down on heavy-handed regulation” that the rule brings. A similar letter is currently circulating in the Senate, with an Oct. 18 deadline for signing.

“The unfunded mandate includes changes to update standards of practice, consideration for different types of residents in nursing centers, and changes that CMS believes will improve care for residents,” the letter reads. “Though well intentioned, these changes may instead have the opposite effect and direct resources away from the quality care our patients deserve.”

CMS said it would delay enforcement penalties on Phase 2 regulations over the summer. Additionally, while providers may want a delay, many have moved forward with implementing new programs and revising strategies to meet the requirements.