Position Statement – ACHCA-Indiana Chapter
Strict Liability for Nursing Home Administrators
The Indiana Chapter of the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA-IN) is an advocate of the Indiana licensed long-term care and post-acute care Administrators – as they are on the front line to ensure quality of care and support for residents, families, and staff. The Indiana Chapter endorses The Position Statement as presented below by ACHCA concerning strict liability for nursing home administrators.
As stated in ACHCA’S Position Statement: “Strict liability calls for the punishment of individuals who are not trained in health care. Strict liability holds the Administrator criminally, professionally and personally liable for the actions or inactions of other people. These are business people managing health care providers in a high-pressure situation. Administrators must deal with regulations, legislation, compliance issues, staff, residents, patients, and families, in addition to reporting to their owner or board of directors.”
Strict liability places Administrators in a very challenged, if not impossible position. Other similar health care professionals are not burdened with the on-going potential of penalties, even when they do an excellent job. Administrators’ desire to do a good job in the protection of residents, families, and staff is often shadowed by fear of an event that may occur either intentionally or unintentionally by another party.
Though we fully support that each Administrator should be responsible for doing their own job, we do not support the concept of punishment for another party’s offenses.
The American College of Health Care Administrators – Indiana Chapter takes the position that we must protect our Administrators rather than allow them to be used as a “target of correction” through any Strict Liability regulation.
Position approved by ACHCA-Indiana Chapter Executive Board on July 28, 2017.
ACHCA-Indiana Chapter Board approval on August 2, 2017.
Executive Board – ACHCA Indiana Chapter:
Vivian Wright-Defrees, President
Tony Stewart, Vice President
Brent Waymire, Treasurer
Ashley Douglas, Secretary
Position Statement – ACHCA
Strict Liability for Nursing Home Administrators
The American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) is an advocate of excellence in long-term care and post-acute care, and our organization works to develop and educate Administrators of nursing homes to ensure quality outcomes for residents and patients.
ACHCA supports a system of holding nursing homes accountable and responsible for the safety and quality of life of those in their charge and care.
However, ACHCA does not now, nor will it ever, support the concept of strict liability for the individual nursing home administrator.
Strict liability calls for the punishment of individuals who are not trained in health care. Strict liability holds the Administrator criminally, professionally and personally liable for the actions or inactions of other people. These are business people managing health care providers in a high-pressure situation. Administrators must deal with regulations, legislation, compliance issues, staff, residents, patients, and families, in addition to reporting to their owner or board of directors.
Currently, each of the 50 states in our country has rules and regulations governing management and practices of nursing homes, in addition to the federal regulations that provide oversight and guidance to nursing homes.
It is our position that the Administrator is well-regulated and held accountable for the performance of their duties. We do not believe any additional liability should be imposed on these professionals.
The federal regulations governing nursing homes do not call for strict liability for nursing home administrators so we do not see a legal precedent for strict liability at the state level.
Nursing home administrators are motivated by a desire to serve and to help those in need. They are a special kind of person in that they have compassion and selflessness in the service of others. While they are a different kind of business person, they are in the end, business people.
As “the CEO of the building,” the Administrator is responsible for the daily management of the facility and all its departments. They are not the individual providing direct care or medical services to the residents and patients in their care.
The training of the Administrator is not clinical. They do not dispense medications; they do not tend to the sick; they do not change bandages. The Administrator makes sure that qualified staff is hired to provide these services. Holding the Administrator personally and individually liable for the actions of others in a field that they do not practice is unacceptable.
No other similar professional is held to this standard and to this level of personal liability.
Strict liability places additional stress on individuals that we need to perform at their best every day.
ACHCA believes that strict liability will create a crisis in the delivery of long-term care, as those with the passion and experience to fulfill this important role will leave the profession. It creates a barrier to new professionals entering the profession. No one should fear losing their home, their license or their freedom because of someone else’s mistake at work.
ACHCA’s position is that Nursing Home Administrators should be supported, not punished.
Policy adopted by Committee June 8, 2017
ACHCA Board approval on July 13, 2017.
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