New nursing home-closure rule gives providers more duties

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New nursing home-closure rule gives providers more duties
New nursing home-closure rule gives providers more duties

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has grabbed the attention of providers with a new interim rule regarding new procedures for the closure of long-term care facilities. The rule sharply amends the notification-of-closure period — and increases the stakes significantly for potential penalties for administrators.

The rule, which appeared in Friday's Federal Register, is slated to go into effect March 23. Required under the Affordable Care Act, it requires long-term care administrators to submit written notification to residents 60 days prior to a facility closure. Notification also must be made to the Department of Health and Human Services and the state's LTC ombudsman. Currently, administrators must do so just 30 days before a planned closure.

If HHS mandates the facility's closure, notice must be given based on what the agency deems appropriate, according to the Bureau of National Affairs. Closure notices have to contain a state-approved relocation plan and “include assurances that the residents will be transferred to the most appropriate facility or other setting in terms of quality, services, and location, taking into consideration the needs, choice and best interests of each resident,” according to the rule.

Administrators who fail to comply with the rule can face civil monetary penalties of up to $100,000. Additionally, administrators can be denied participation in any federal health care program and could be subject to further penalties. Comments on the rule are due to HHS by April 19.

Quality of care issues like these will be covered in a special McKnight's Online Expo webcast at 1:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on March 24. Free registration for the session and the rest of the expo is ongoing at www.mcknights.com/expo2011.