Penalties = Deterrence

National Center for Seniors Housing & Care released a new analysis showing CMS collects more money for penalties. The per-incident penalties increased more than eight-fold from 2016 to 2020, prior to the pandemic.

CMS increased collection of per-incident penalties after updating the federal safety guidelines in 2017. The agency collected less than $5 million in total per-incident fines for years. It was not a deterrent. The new guidelines allowed penalties to deter future neglect and abuse.

Data showed the average penalty was $8,000 in January 2016, $9,000 in January 2017, $14,000 by January 2018, and $16,000 in July 2019.  The average penalty amount is now back up to about $15,000 as of April 2021.

CMS will almost certainly be penalizing nursing homes that continue to fail to have specific infection control employees on staff. Most of these employees continue to hold dual roles as frontline nurses. The latest Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology survey shows many deficiencies and unsafe practices.