Nursing homes are going to need a crash course in the disposal of hazardous materials following a recent law change.

In December, the Environmental Protection Agency dropped its nearly 500-page rule, which prohibits long-term care facilities from disposing down the toilet or drain pharmaceuticals considered to be hazardous waste.

Publication of the final rule, which was delayed by the government shutdown, is expected to hit the Federal Register this week, experts said. Providers would have six months to comply from the publishing date.

An expert with the American Health Care Association expressed unease Friday about the quick turnaround and added that the group was still reviewing the full impact of the legislation.

“We are concerned with the short timeframe of six months when the final rule becomes effective due to the operational changes that nursing centers face to comply with these new regulations,” Holly Harmon, AHCA associate VP of quality and clinical affairs, told McKnight’s Friday.

Law firm Arnall Golden Gregory issued a 10-page brief last week, giving SNFs a quick rundown on the 491 page rule. The key takeaway is don’t wait, said AGG’s Jennifer Hilliard.

“The primary thing that I would like the nursing home audience to get is they’re going to need to start early on this because it’s a whole new regulatory framework that they’re going to have to get used to,” she told McKnight’s.

“They’re going, in essence, from zero to 60 in about six months, and it’s a very short time period in which they need to become familiar with how this regulation works.”