Seniorjournal.com has a great summary of the bill introduced by Senators Kohl and Grassley aimed at improving the quality of care in nursing homes with more and better information for consumers on the Nursing Home Compare Website published by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Supporting the bipartisan bill are the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR).
? Enables the residents and the government to know who actually owns the nursing home
? Strengthens accountability requirements for individual facilities and nursing home chains, including annual independent audits for nursing home chains
? Improves Nursing Home Compare by including a nursing home’s ownership information, the identity of participants in the Special Focus Facility program, a standardized complaint form and links to nursing home inspection reports
? Provides more transparency of a nursing home’s expenditures by requiring more detail in cost reporting
? Provides for improved reporting of nurse staffing information so that apples-to-apples comparisons can be made across nursing homes
? Brings uniformity and structure to the nursing home complaint process by requiring a standardized complaint form and complaint resolution processes that includes complainant notification and response deadlines
? Strengthens available penalties by making them more meaningful.
Instead of imposing civil money penalties (CMPs) up to $10,000, the Secretary would be able to impose a range of penalties of up to $100,000 for a deficiency resulting in death, $3,000-$25,000 for deficiencies at the level of actually harm or immediate jeopardy and not more than $3,000 for other deficiencies.
The Secretary would be able to reduce CMPs for facilities that do not appeal CMPs and for self-reporting deficiencies below the immediate jeopardy level or the actual harm level if the harm is found to be a “pattern” or “widespread” or those resulting in death.
Penalties must be collected within 90 days, following a hearing.
? Equips the Secretary with tools to address corporate-level problems in nursing home chains by giving the authority to develop a national independent monitor program specific to multistate and large intrastate nursing home chains
? Provides greater protection to residents of nursing homes that close by requiring advance notice of the closure as well as the development of a transfer and relocation plan of residents
? Requires a study on the role that financial issues play in poor-performing homes
? Requires a study on best practices for the appointment of temporary management for nursing homes as well as barriers
? Requires a study on barriers to purchasing facilities with a record of poor care
? Authorizes demonstration projects for nursing home “culture change” and for improving resident care through health information technology
? Improves staff training to include dementia management and abuse prevention training as part of pre-employment training
? Requires a study on increased training requirements either in content or hours for nurse aides and supervisory staff
Hopefully, this bill will pass Congress and get proper funding in the budget.