...a recent Bush administration change in
federal rules on nursing home inspections makes it nearly impossible
for others to do the same, say opponents of the federal action.
Put into effect in October with little notice and without a
public comment period, the federal move is getting sharp criticism for
closing off what advocates call crucial information....
Officials at the Department of Health and Human
Services said employees have been too burdened by requests for
information. Under the rule change, state employees who inspect nursing
homes for the federal government are reclassified as federal employees
who aren't allowed to provide "privileged" information or documents to
the public without approval from the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services....