Despite a major blow to their repeal attempt in the U.S. Senate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – also known as Obamacare – Republican lawmakers have vowed to keep pushing towards healthcare reform. While their general goals entail making changes to Medicaid and Medicare funding and allotment, states’ rights and flexibility, and insurance regulation, many regulatory items are likely to not change, specifically with regard to LTPAC facilities.
Quality of Care Rules
Regardless of which party holds the power in Washington D.C., most healthcare providers, patients, families, patient advocates, and politicians agree that the elderly and disabled in LTPAC facilities deserve care that meets predetermined federal and state standards.
In 1987, Congress enacted the Nursing Home Reform Act, legislation which required nursing homes that received Medicare and/or Medicaid funding to comply with certain quality of care rules. This law stated that nursing homes “must provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psycho-social well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care.”
Access to Basic Services and Preventative Measures
These guidelines encompassed staffing ratios, care plan documentation requirements, basic injury and illness preventative measures, hygiene requirements, and access to adequate assistance, technology, nutrition, and other preventative care.
Over the years, the law has been refined to be more specific with regards to required standard operating procedures in LTPAC facilities.
State Operating Guidelines
While each state has its own state requirements for LTPAC facilities, generally speaking, the state regulations cover guidelines for proper admission, transfer and discharge operations, dental services, dietary services, infection control, nursing, pharmacy, and physician services, resident assessment procedures, resident rights, and other special rehabilitative services. While the method of payment might slightly change under a Republican plan (i.e. Medicaid vs. Medicare vs. private insurance), the state standards would not likely change as patients still deserve the same care standards.
Privacy Laws (HIPAA)
Mandated at both the federal and state level, HIPAA standards are so ingrained in every aspect of healthcare operations now and remain incredibly important to patients and families that they will not likely be lessened or significantly altered.
Our Next Blog
One of the most important aspects of LTPAC operations that is not expected to change, but to experience continual refinements and updates are the LTPAC facility technology standards and requirements. Our next blog will address the current standards as well as possible future changes and improvements- regardless of who is in political office.