Provider fines exceed $155,000 for not reporting visitation policies weekly – News | #seniorliving | #elderly | #seniors
South Carolina assisted living communities and nursing homes have been hit with at least $155,550 in fees for not submitting timely weekly reports to the state that describe their visitation policies and, if applicable, the reasons they aren’t allowing visitors.
The fees stem from a public health order issued by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control last fall mandating that assisted living communities and nursing homes submit the reports. At the time, the acting director of public health stated that it was necessary to gather the information to ensure “appropriate and reasonable compliance” with the state’s Bill of Rights for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities.
The public health order gave facilities a Monday 5 p.m. deadline each week to complete and submit the form to the state. Facilities that did not meet the deadline could be subject to a maximum $1,000 penalty per day for each violation.
Over the past six months, the state has fined long-term care facilities a total of $155,550 for failing to submit the visitor reports on time, according to The State. A majority of the state’s almost 700 facilities have been hit with at least one fine, and more than 100 have received multiple fines, the media outlet reported.
Long-term care administrators complained about the rule, issued in the midst of a global pandemic, saying that the rule was a low priority, burdensome and a waste of time as they focused on the COVID-19 crises in their communities.
A health department spokeswoman told The State that the agency implemented the reporting requirement last fall because operators were not “keeping them in the loop about their visitation status, despite repeated communications and outreach efforts.”
The state updated its visitation guidance in March, requiring all assisted living communities to offer visitation with few exceptions.