Nursing homes clear hurdle in 'de-densification' lawsuit

A group of nursing homes are celebrating a Massachusetts Superior Court judge ruling that granted a temporary injunction of a "de-densification" law, halting its enforcement, the Boston Business Journal reported Jan. 5.

The ruling is the latest step in a long dispute over a mandate the state Department of Public Health issued in April 2021, which sought to force long-term care facilities to have no more than two beds per room. The rule was set to go into effect May 1, 2022, but nine nursing homes sued the state to block it.

Since then, 22 other nursing facilities have joined the lawsuit. The plaintiffs claim compliance with the law would force them to break contracts and discharge vulnerable patients. Collectively, the requirement could take 585 beds out of service and cost facilities around $54 million yearly, according to the report.

Although the state did not link the de-densification requirement to COVID-19, the plaintiffs claim the law was in response to the high rates of infection in the nursing homes seen early in the pandemic.

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