For the approximately 16,000 nursing home operators across the country, increased scrutiny and constant realignment have become a way of life. And if trying to prepare for a new administration that is likely to enact significant regulatory and reimbursement changes in the near future wasn’t enough, long-term care providers also end 2016 with a new 700-page rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The new rule, commonly referred to as either “The Final Rule” or the “Rules of Participation,” is a series of guidelines and requirements for long-term care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding. The guidelines will be implemented in three phases. The first phase was initiated on Nov. 28, 2016, phase two will be implemented by Nov. 28, 2017, and phase three will be implemented by Nov. 28, 2019 (Figure 1). The goal of the new regulations is to continue the advancement of service delivery and safety that has occurred over the past several years, as well as put in place a series of mechanisms designed to achieve improvements in quality of care while simultaneously attempting to reduce burdens on providers. The new regulations represent the most comprehensive update in decades. The first time Medicare and Medicaid requirements were published by CMS was in 1989, and although there have been periodic revisions since then, this is the most thorough overhaul since 1991. Clearly, the health care industry has experienced substantial changes in care delivery in the past decades, so the Final Rule’s arrival has…
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