A nursing home

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is stepping up its enforcement of law and punishment of nursing homes that fail to meet infection control practices. The announcement, made earlier this week, further builds on actions CMS had taken to make sure nursing homes are safe and secure as COVID-19 continues to ravage these facilities.

“The Trump Administration is taking consistent action to protect the vulnerable,” says CMS Administrator Seema Verma in press release. “While many nursing homes have performed well and demonstrated that it’s entirely possible to keep nursing homes patients safe, we are outlining new instructions for state survey agencies and enforcement actions for nursing homes that are not following federal safety requirements.”

CMS says the new measures of accountability are inspired by recent data pertaining to COVID-19 infections in nursing homes. To combat the infections, CMS says it will increase its enforcement of laws at elderly care facilities that have routinely violated infection control standards. It promises to also enforce the law in situations of "lower level infection control deficiencies" so that these situations are also addressed.

Providers of elder care who fail to comply with CMS' new infection control standards could face fines up to $20,000, reports McKnight's LONG-TERM CARE News.

CMS has required all nursing homes to routinely report COVID-19 cases and deaths directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the past few weeks.As of May 24, about 12,500 nursing homes – approximately 80 percent of the 15,400 Medicare and Medicaid nursing homes – had reported this data to the CDC, says CMS.