Nursing homes could see greater penalties for safety violations now that a Trump administration policy limiting such penalties has been reversed, and one industry association says resident care could suffer as a result.

Under a Trump administration policy, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services shifted from per-day fines to per-incident fines for nursing homes found to be out of compliance with federal standards.

In a July 7 memo, however, the federal agency said, “CMS has determined that the agency should retain the discretion at this time to impose a per-day penalty where appropriate to address specific circumstances of prior noncompliance.”

The American Health Care Association, however, told the McKnight’s Business Daily that “per diem [civil money penalties] only take precious resources away from an already underfunded industry, especially during an unprecedented time when nursing homes need every support to protect their residents.”

CMS has steadily increased its collection of per-incident penalties from SNFs since the 2017 rule that set per-instance CMPs as the default penalty, McKnight’s Long-term Care News previously reported.

“The purpose behind government oversight is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our residents — and nursing home providers share in that purpose,” AHCA told the McKnight’s Business Daily. “We must foster an approach where nursing homes, regulators and consumer advocates have a shared responsibility to do what’s best for the resident and remedying identified issues, not simply citing and fining.”

Such an approach, according to the association, would include “creating incentives for nursing homes to enhance the quality of care and properly funding these facilities to ensure they have the necessary resources to provide high-quality care.”

When fines are justified, AHCA said, “they should be done equitably, not based on when state surveyors can fulfill their duties.”