I checked into the requisite regulatory session at the EFA conference this morning with a bit of trepidation, thinking it would be a snoozefest and so over my head that it would be a waste of my conference coverage time. Instead, I was immediately drawn into the engaging and compelling program by presenters Gaius Nelson of Nelson-Tremain Partners, and Skip Gregory of Health Facility Consulting.
The two expert consultants used gentle humor backed by solid facts to build a case for sensible and research-based reform of redundant, inflexible, and outdated life safety and design codes that perpetuate antiquated models and create barriers to person-centered care for nursing homes. They identified the myriad challenges reformers face, including dealing with entities that are working off a 10-15 year cycle on codes; for example, federal enforcers still adhere to the 2000 edition of Life Safety Codes when a newer edition has been in existence since 2004.
“Design codes are based on an outdated institutional model, created for the caregivers, not the residents and without any real thought to it,” charged Gregory, citing a California nursing home standard that still permits four beds per room. “Why do we put up with this?”
Nelson and Gregory identified current regulatory reform efforts and offered guidance on how to influence and support regulatory reform. They encouraged attendees to learn the code revision cycles and work with their state provider associations to affect change. “There are enlightened regulators,” said Nelson.