In a 400 + page proposal, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), set forth sweeping changes to regulations for the long term care industry. The massive changes would be the first to nursing home regulations since 1991. The aim of the proposed changes would be to improve quality of care and quality of life, provide longer term care facility services, as well as optimize resident safety and reflect current professional standards.

CMS notes that since the regulations were first published in 1989 there have been significant developments in resident care and quality assessment. The agency also notes that the population in nursing homes today are more diverse and more clinically complex. With that diversity in mind, one of the proposed changes would be to resident meal plans to better accommodate the resident’s religious and cultural preferences, their nutrition and allergy needs, and their choice in when they eat.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)The proposed changes would bring a competency-based approach to making sure nursing homes meet the CMS requirements. They’d be required to assess their own capabilities and resident populations and then provide their staff with the tools to meet the residents’ needs, based on individual person-centered care plans. CMS wants to ensure that the assessments are consistently performed and documented.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell states that the proposal shows the administration’s commitment to transform the health system to provide better quality of care and spend health care dollars in a smarter way.