When it comes to ensuring that nursing homes are compliant with regulations to protect patients, the enforcement of such provisions falls primarily on agencies within the state. When violations are discovered agencies have several options available to them in their arsenal including issuing a written citation that could become part of the facilities permanent record— and issuing fines.
Theoretically, imposing these sanctions would provide enough encouragement for poorly performing facilities to clean up their act. That is, unless the nursing home is located in Wisconsin.
A new bill (Assembly Bill 302) that has been passed by the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate would lessen some of the regulatory bite in the arsenal that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has to enforce infractions discovered in nursing homes within the state.
The new bill would limit the Department of Health Services from issuing citations and fines stemming from a singular incident to either federal or state law— not both as is currently the practice in the state. In addition to the reduced penalties, the new legislation would also give nursing homes more time to pay the levied fines.
While I appreciate the argument that facilities shouldn’t be subjected to duplicative sanctions, I fear that the reduced penalties may not be enough of an incentive for some nursing homes to improve the care they provide to their patients.
Read more about this bill impacting Wisconsin nursing homes here.
For laws related to Wisconsin nursing homes, look here.
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