Proposed Nursing Home Legislation Would Boost Staffing:

According to NBC Philadelphia, a bill that is part of a larger effort to revamp long-term care was introduced by senior Democratic senators earlier this month. This proposed nursing home legislation would boost staffing and comes as a response to the devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic in nursing homes. Additionally, it seeks to address issues related to infection control, staffing, and nursing home inspections.

Introduced by a group led by Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Ron Wyden of Oregon, the bill looks to take on not only the infection control issues underscored by the high rate of infection and deaths from COVID-19 in nursing homes, but also focuses on certain pre-pandemic issues that have plagued the nursing home industry for some time, including among them the problems of low staffing and high staff turnover, as well as low wages for staffing. In a statement Wyden cited “the pandemic, myriad reports of abuse, and critical failures during natural disasters” as matters inspiring the Senate bill.

Proposed Nursing Home Legislation Would Boost Staffing, and according to the article, the following are the main provisions of the proposed legislation:

  • Offering states an increase over six years of federally-matched Medicaid funds in order to increase salaries and benefits for nursing home workers
  • Initiating a process for establishing minimum staffing levels
  • Requiring nursing homes to increase availability of a registered nurse from the current length of eight hours to a full 24 hours
  • Requiring all nursing homes to staff both an infection prevention and an infection control specialist
  • Reinforcing state inspections of nursing homes and aiming to improve under-performing homes by adding them to a “special focus” program
  • Forbidding the insistence by nursing homes that residents and families waive their rights to resolve disputes regarding care in court and instead resort to arbitration

In addition to the above, the bill also seeks to conduct an experiment to determine whether or not smaller nursing facilities might lead to improved nursing home care and a better quality of life for residents. Comprised of fewer than 15 residents total, these homes would offer such amenities as private rooms and accessible outdoor areas, and would also better allow residents and family members to participate in decision-making.

While nothing about the bill’s price has been released by the Congressional Budget Office, the proposed bill is estimated to potentially cost tens of billions of dollars, says NBC Philadelphia.

Fighting for Your Loved One’s Best Interests

Determining the quality and safety of the Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home where your loved one lives is essential. Pennsylvania and New Jersey nursing homes are required to meet health and safety standards requirements and to ensure the physical, mental, and psycho/social well-being of their residents. To meet these standards, the Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home where your loved one lives must be equipped to avoid the kind of substandard care that amounts to nursing home neglect or abuse. Should you have concerns about the quality of care in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing home, or if you suspect neglect, abuse, or fraud has occurred at the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home where your loved one lives, please contact nursing home abuse attorney Brian P. Murphy to discover your legal rights and options.