The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued new guidance to help long-term care facilities comply with anti-discrimination obligations when they administer the Minimum Data Set (MDS) patient assessment tool so that the facilities’ residents receive care in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.
Those obligations arise under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.) (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.) (ADA), which prohibit long-term care facilities receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating against individuals based on disability. The unnecessary placement of residents in an inpatient setting when they could live in a more integrated setting may constitute discrimination under Section 504 and the ADA, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999).
OCR’s guidance, issued May 20, 2016, includes recommendations concerning MDS administration. OCR issued the guidance after finding that long-term care facilities have misinterpreted certain required questions when administering the MDS to their residents, namely – MDS Section Q, questions Q0400, Q0500 and Q0600. Those questions, as well as others in Section Q of the MDS, are intended to ensure that long-term care facilities provide all residents with the opportunity to learn about home and community-based services. The guidance sets forth detailed instructions concerning how operators should answer each of the three questions. According to OCR, proper administration of these questions is critical to assisting residents to receive services in the most integrated setting.
Continue Reading HHS Office of Civil Rights Releases Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities Using the Minimum Data Set to Facilitate Opportunities to Live in the Most Integrated Setting