The Des Moines Register reported on a new bill proposed by Senator Tom Coburn (R- Oklahoma) that would end the practice of paying poorly performing nursing homes a bonus. Under the current system, nursing homes across the country are paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses by taxpayers regardless of their record of health and safety violations at their facilities.
The Register looked at eight programs in seven states where regulatory violations don’t disqualify a nursing home from receiving a bonus and determined the eight programs alone cost taxpayers $312 million per year. “We paid out in excess of $300 million in bonuses to nursing homes that had significant problems in terms of giving the care and meeting Medicare standards,” Coburn said. “Why? Why wouldn’t we fix that?”
In addition to providing bonuses to nursing homes that fail to meeting government standards, the government also pays bonuses to nursing homes for legally mandated requirements such as installing fire sprinklers or paying employees minimum wages.
The bill was accepted by unanimous consent of the Senate, but the bill remains to be approved. Read more about this nursing home legislation here.
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