Wednesday, June 13, 2018

AHCA Responds to Regulatory Concerns from State AGs

Drew Thies

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma last week responding to concerns the there has been a “rollback” of regulations on skilled nursing facilities.

The letter is in response to a May 30 letter sent by 17 state attorneys general (AG) to CMS saying that federal oversight over SNFs has weakened during the Trump administration. AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson said in the association’s letter that the AG complaints are based on outdated facts and ignore the purpose of the regulatory changes, which is to improve the lives of SNF residents.

David Gifford, MD, senior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs for AHCA, says, “We were surprised and disappointed” by the way the AGs contextualized the changes CMS made. Dr. Gifford also spoke to the increasing quality in SNFs, particularly in relation to the AHCA Quality Initiative, which started in 2012.

“[T]he data from CMS do not support their claim that these changes have made care worse or that stronger penalties will help improve care,” he said.

AHCA will continue to educate lawmakers about the quality improvements made in the SNF profession and the regulations providers must abide by.

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