More than 20 years the Nursing Home Reform Act was passed to protect residents of nursing homes. Has the law helped? Of course it sets standards for the care and treatment of nursing home residents. However, as the Act ages, nursing homes and the companies that own and operate them have become increasingly sophisticated in ways to meet the standards, yet still skimp on the level of care required to properly tend to many residents needs.
A new bill in the Senate Finance Committee, the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act (S2641), would overhaul current nursing home standards. For example, the new bill would require nursing homes to: clearly state ownership information, standardize complaint forms, improve reporting on staffing information, and replace some self-reported information with independent audits.
The new bill would make selection of a nursing home easier for elderly and their families. Families would know who the owner of a facility is and have access to information on its staff. Under the current system many nursing homes hide ownership information in order to make bringing a complaint or filing a lawsuit as difficult as possible.
The bill would also give those responsible for enforcement of the law more muscle. The bills sponsors, Senator Charles Grassley and Senator Herb Kohl intend the fines and penalties for failure to comply with the laws be strong enough to deter the behavior as opposed to the cost of doing business.
I encourage you to contact your congressman using the this link and ask them to vote ‘yes’.