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What is the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987?

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2012 | Articles

The federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (NRHA) is a comprehensive set of federal regulations governing the operation of nursing home facilities in the United States. It applies to certified nursing home facilities that receive Medicare payments. NRHA’s basic objective is to ensure that nursing homes operate in substantial compliance with federal regulations. One way NHRA helps ensure that residents are treated fairly is by requiring that nursing homes adopt a Residents’ Bill of Rights.

Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights

NRHA requires nursing home residents to be provided with basic rights and services. These rights are commonly known as the Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights, and they are the basis for improving the quality of care in nursing homes across the country.

Below are some of the rights found within the Nursing Home Reform Act:

  • The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect;
  • The right to free choice;
  • The right to privacy and confidentiality;
  • The right to be treated with dignity; and
  • The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal

The complete list of residents’ rights can be found at 42 C.F.R. § 483.10

Nursing Home Inspection Laws

In addition to setting minimum levels of care and establishing a bill of rights for nursing home residents, the NHRA also sets requirements for the inspection of nursing home facilities. For example, NHRA requires states to conduct unannounced inspections of nursing homes at least once every 15 months. During these inspections, state officials are also required to interview nursing home residents about the nursing home’s quality of services. State surveyors can also conduct targeted surveys in response to complaints against specific facilities.

Enforcement of the Nursing Home Reform Act

If a nursing home fails to meet federal standards, enforcement actions ensue. Penalties range from written warnings to denial of Medicare payments for current and future patients. The actual penalties depend on the severity of the offense and its pervasiveness throughout the facility.

The extent to which the Nursing Home Reform Act succeeds in actually improving residents’ care in nursing homes largely depends on the ability of state regulators to monitor and correct problems at facilities. Since state inspectors cannot catch all violations, it’s important for residents to report any instances of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, most incidents of abuse and neglect in nursing homes go unreported.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, it’s important that you let someone know. The qualified Los Angeles elder care attorneys at Makarem & Associates understand that it can be difficult to come forward as an abuse victim, and we’re here to help. In addition to the possibility of recovering monetary compensation for your injuries, bringing a lawsuit for nursing home abuse can also protect future residents from similar mistreatment. Contact one of our qualified nursing home attorneys today by email [email protected] or phone 310.312.0299 to discuss your case.

Views expressed are the personal views of the author(s) and do not represent the views of Makarem & Associates, APLC, its partners, employees or its clients. Furthermore, the information provided by the author is not intended to be legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.