By Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
CMS is charged with developing and enforcing quality and safety standards across the nation’s health care system, a responsibility we consider a sacred trust. While we support and promote the private sector’s critical role in our health care system, CMS’ duty to monitor the safety of the nation’s hospitals, nursing homes, and other providers, is a unique governmental task which lies at the core of government’s role in health care. This duty is especially important when it comes to the care provided for some of the most vulnerable in our society, Americans residing in nursing homes.
Every nursing home resident deserves to retain their basic human dignity and to be treated with respect at all times. Abuse and neglect are never acceptable. CMS’ approach to oversight of nursing homes is constantly evolving. Just as we’re unleashing innovative strategies and technologies in other areas of CMS, we’re continuously looking for ways to improve our approach to nursing home safety and quality. We must never be complacent – we should always push ahead to continuously improve our efforts.
CMS is not waiting, and not settling for the status quo: I have directed my team at CMS to undertake a comprehensive review of our regulations, guidelines, internal structure, and processes related to safety and quality in nursing homes. America deserves nursing homes that ensure residents are treated with dignity and kept safe from abuse and neglect; that are rewarded for value and quality; whose patient outcomes are transparent to consumers; all without unnecessary paperwork that keeps providers from focusing on patients. We have demonstrated our commitment to this path by developing a five-part plan to ensure the care provided in America’s nursing homes is of the highest possible quality. While we pursue these efforts, we welcome interest and input from all stakeholders, Congress, and our other federal partners. But we have already started executing our plan, and we’ve got our eyes on the future.
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