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In spite of earlier reports from the White House, regulatory requirements that would reduce the frequency of nursing home inspections will not go into effect.
President Bush rejected a proposal by Thomas Scully, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which would soften CMS nursing home inspection requirements and limit penalties. Previous reports from the White House indicated that the president favored easing requirements, allowing so-called "good" nursing homes to be inspected less frequently, with the idea that the inspections process would be made less burdensome.
Under the proposed CMS plan, "bad" nursing homes eventually would be inspected twice as often as those that had received god compliance records and would be subject to stricter criteria would. In spite of the support of CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services, Sen. Charles Grassley, former chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which has authority over Medicaid and Medicare, says, "The quality of care can change suddenly, even for facilities with good track records. Today’s good nursing homes could become tomorrow’s poor performers."