Massachusetts regulators recently announced new rules that, if adopted, will change the requirements for nursing home sales and closures in the state. The proposed new rules require nursing home owners intending to sell a facility to first provide written notice to residents and their families, nursing home staff, unions representing nursing home staffers, state and local officials, and the state Ombudsman’s office. A public hearing would also be required prior to nursing home changes of ownership if at least 10 people petition the state health department. All proposed nursing home closures would be subject to public hearing and public notices.

The new proposed rules were announced on August 12, 2015, a year after state legislators directed regulators to create a more public process for nursing home sales and closures. The proposed new rules will undergo a public comment period.

If promulgated as final rules, the rules will likely lengthen the time period required for obtaining regulatory approval for a nursing home change of ownership in Massachusetts. The rules will also create more uncertainty for proposed nursing home owners seeking regulatory approval for a facility acquisition in Massachusetts.