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Advocates Meet with Top CMS Official About Nursing Home Rule

June 27, 2018

On June 25, Consumer Voice staff, Lori Smetanka and Robyn Grant, joined several advocacy organizations in a meeting with CMS Administrator Seema Verma and two members of her team to discuss our recommendations for the nursing home Requirements of Participation (RoPs). CMS is revising the current rules with a goal of reducing provider burden.
 
When asked for written recommendations prior to the meeting, advocates submitted a statement calling on CMS to retain the RoPs as issued in October 2016 and indicating our disagreement with the premise that the rules needed to be revised to reduce provider burden.
 
During the meeting, advocates stressed that the regulations contain important resident protections and discussed why strong regulations are needed now more than ever.  They also refuted provider claims that the rules are excessive, unnecessary and/or onerous, by pointing out that the RoPs are already flexible, and that many of the so-called burdens are in fact resident protections.
 
The Administrator reported that CMS is going through a deliberative process in revising the rules and is reaching out to a number of groups to hear their thoughts and proposals. Advocates emphasized the need for agency staff to hear directly from residents and family members about their experiences and suggestions.
 
In addition to listening and asking questions, Administrator Verma solicited advocate recommendations for strengthening the RoPs.  At the top of the list was a minimum staffing standard and a 24-hour RN. Advocates also raised the need for stronger, more effective enforcement.

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