WASHINGTON, March 22 The House of Representatives' passage last night of health care reform will create the most significant improvements and changes in long-term care in a generation. NCCNHR, which led the effort to pass the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, championed provisions in the bill that will increase transparency of nursing home operations and quality; improve the safety of people receiving care in long-term care facilities and their homes; and strengthen agencies that investigate neglect and abuse of the elderly, including the long-term care ombudsman program.
The health care legislation incorporates several bills supported by NCCNHR, including the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act, the Elder Justice Act, and the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act. It also includes provisions to improve training of the long-term care workforce and expand public coverage of long-term care outside nursing homes.
"This is a momentous week for millions of Americans who need long-term care today, and the millions more who will need it in the coming years," said Sarah F. Wells, NCCNHR executive director. "The health care reform bill will give consumers more choices about where and how they receive long-term care and services, and every long-term care setting--from one's nursing home to one's own home--will be safer when it is implemented."
The Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act will require disclosure of the wide array of individuals and entities that own, operate, and finance nursing homes, and it will require nursing homes to escrow fines if they appeal violations. It also will provide consumers ready access to information that is now unavailable or hard to obtain, such as accurate information about staffing levels and turnover rates; sanctions against facilities; and inspection reports.
The Elder Justice Act will improve training of long-term care ombudsmen and the capacity of other public agencies to investigate neglect and abuse. It also requires reporting neglect and abuse in long-term care facilities.
The Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act provides for a national program of criminal background checks on workers who provide long-term care services in facilities and private homes.
Continue to check www.nccnhr.org for updates on health care reform.
NCCNHR (formerly the National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization founded in 1975 by Elma L. Holder to protect the rights, safety, and dignity of America's long-term care residents.