Author:

Abhilasha Desai

Improving Safety and Quality of Care in Poor-Performing Nursing Homes

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) manages an oversight program for nursing homes known as the Special Focus Facilities (SFF) program. Nursing homes that are placed in the program have almost double the deficiencies as other nursing homes, more serious issues in terms of injury and persistent problems that are never addressed. On October 21, 2022, CMS issued a press release regarding changes to its SFF program. The new changes will increase accountability for these facilities and encourage them to make quicker improvements. This action comes following the Biden-Harris Administration’s promise to increase safety and quality of care in poor-performing nursing homes.

OSHA’s New Directive: An Incentive or a Drawback?

In September 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new instruction which broadens the scope of the agency’s inspection program, the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). The previous directive, which went into effect in 2010, allowed OSHA to place employers in the program if its employees committed certain serious violations, especially if they had already been cited for the violation once or received a failure-to-abate notice. The new instruction allows OSHA to place employers in the program that probably would not have met the criteria in the previous directive.

Possible Pitfalls of the New DOJ Compliance Policy

In March 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) introduced a new policy idea that requires a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) undergo certification. This certification requires CCOs to attest at the end of company resolutions that their compliance program is reasonably designed to detect and promptly remedy behavior suspected or known to be in violation of applicable laws. The new policy is part of an effort to take more proactive measures against criminal behavior and activities such as fraud, bribery, corruption, etc. The certification is also aimed at empowering the CCOs as they speak on behalf of their company’s obligations to the compliance program.