What You Need to Know About the Federal Nursing Home Act

Understand the Federal Nursing Home ActIn 1987, Congress passed the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (FNHRA), which was intended to ensure that residents of nursing homes received quality care and attention. To improve quality care in nursing homes, the FNHRA provides certain services that must be available to each resident, as well as, establishing a Residents’ Bill of Rights. The Act covers those nursing homes that receive federal funding, such as through Medicaid or Medicare; however, additional state laws govern nursing homes as well.

Required services provided for in the FNHRA include:

  • Periodic assessments of each resident.
  • A comprehensive care plan for each resident.
  • Nursing services, social services, and rehabilitation services.
  • Dietary and pharmaceutical services.
  • Services of a full-time social worker if the facility has more than 120 beds.

Residents’ Bill of Rights

The FNHRA established rights for nursing home residents to ensure they received quality care. The rights include:

  • The right to choose a personal attending physician.
  • The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, neglect, and from physical restraints.
  • The right to privacy.
  • The right to confidentiality of personal and clinical records.
  • The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs.
  • The right to voice grievances.
  • The right to participate in resident and family groups.
  • The right to participate in social, religious and community activities.
  • The right to examine the results of the most recent survey of the facility conducted by the State.
  • The right to refuse a transfer to another room within the facility.

The nursing home must inform each resident of these rights orally and in writing at the time the resident is admitted to the facility.

Federal Quality Assurance Privilege

Part of the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act is a subsection referred to as the Federal Quality Assurance Privilege, which provides that a skilled nursing home must maintain an “assurance committee” which must meet quarterly to “identify issues with respect to quality assessment” and develop and implement “appropriate plans of action to correct identified quality deficiencies.” 42 U.S.C. § 1395i-3(b)(1)(B).

The committees must consist of the director of nursing services, a physician designated by the facility, and at least 3 other members of the nursing home’s staff. These committees should be investigating any occurrence such as a resident’s fall or an infections outbreak in order to prevent future similar incidents from occurring.

Although these statutes apply to all 50 states, the scope of the quality assurance privilege depends on the state or court where the case is being litigated.

Colorado Nursing Home Administrators Practice Act

Colorado has enacted its own statutes governing the regulation of nursing homes, and administrators referred to as the Colorado Nursing Home Administrators Practice Act. C.R.S. § 12-39-101 provides that “the intent of this article is to provide a measure of protection to the residents of nursing homes in this state who are aged or who have disabilities by establishing a means to regulate nursing home administrators to ensure quality administration and sound management of nursing homes.”

Furthermore, the act provides the grounds for discipline of nursing administrators that fail to provide quality administration. Some grounds include:

  • A felony conviction.
  • License to practice nursing home administration has been suspended or revoked in any jurisdiction.
  • Falsified or made incorrect entries.
  • Violation of confidentiality.
  • Practiced as a nursing home administrator without a license.

C.R.S. § 12-39-111.

For more information you can check out the Colorado Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators.

If you or a loved one has suffered from abuse or neglect at the hands of nursing home, please contact an experience attorney today.

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