May 29, 2020

National Nursing Home Initiative

The DOJ launched the National Nursing Home Initiative (NNHI) to investigate and implement enforcement actions against nursing facilities for providing “grossly substandard care” to its residents. The basis for establishing the NNHI was unrelated to COVID-19, however given the standards set by the NNHI, investigations based on care provided in nursing facilities in response to COVID-19 will likely expand. The NNHI will be guided by the Elder Justice Initiative (EJI), a partnership between HHS, state attorney generals, and other local agencies to address elder abuse and financial fraud against seniors. The goal of the NNHI is to identify the “bad actors” in the post-acute care industry that pose a threat to the health of residents. The aggressive tone indicates a likelihood that the DOJ may seek resolution against nursing facilities by assessing the resources being utilized and the efforts by nursing facilities to contain the spread of COVID-19. In conjunction, it is likely the DOJ will continue if not increase its enforcement authority under the False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute and health care fraud.