A doctor speaking with a nursing home resident
Credit: FatCamera/Getty Images Plus

The Biden administration’s approach toward nursing home reform uses the unsuccessful and “punitive” tactics that haven’t proved to advance quality for years, according to a top industry group. 

“Unfortunately, some of the proposed policies appear to double down on the same punitive measures that for the last three decades have not materially improved the patient or resident experience in [post-acute long-term care],” AMDA–The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine wrote in a letter to the administration Thursday.

“We strongly urge this administration to seize this critical moment and take bold action to move our healthcare system into the 21st century, starting with a reimagining of PALTC,” the group added. 

While applauding President Joe Biden’s proposal to increase ownership transparency and quality, the organization, suggested that a new approach must be taken that prioritizes clinical leadership in facilities. 

AMDA called on the federal government to start requiring and reporting a public listing of medical directors at every certified nursing facility, and requiring nursing home medical directors to have a minimum level of training knowledge in order to retain the position. 

“We have seen a stark contrast in the response to COVID-19 in facilities where the medical director is well-trained, fully engaged, and knowledgeable about geriatric medicine and infection prevention and control practices, versus those where they are not,” AMDA wrote. “As always, we stand ready to work with [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] to enact and implement these changes and train medical directors.” 

They also called for a safer worker environment, adequate compensation and benefits and more training for direct care staff. 

“We must institute policies that incentivize innovation, attract, train and retain a qualified workforce, promote a culture of safety, and treat those who need our care with dignity and respect,” the group concluded.