On August 10, 2021, several members of the United States Senate introduced a promising new nursing home bill. The Nursing Home Improvement and Accountability Act of 2021 is designed to reform the way nursing homes operate.
If the bill is signed into law, it could prevent tens of thousands of nursing home deaths each year. The bill is largely a response to abuses highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. With coronavirus overwhelming the healthcare industry, it was easy to see long-standing problems like understaffing and lack of transparency.
How the Act Could Change the Way Nursing Homes Operate
The proposed act aims to address a large number of problems. Proposed changes include but are not limited to:
- Addressing understaffing and employee workload
- Increased Medicaid funding for staff improvements, wages and benefits
- Requiring on-site registered nurses at all times
- Hiring an infection preventionist for at least 40 hours per week
- Changing data collecting and reporting requirements
- Changes to the survey and enforcement system
- Banning pre-dispute arbitration agreements in nursing homes, home health services and HCBS
- Potential modifications to nursing home building requirements
Please support this bill; contact your senators to let them know. Ohio’s own Senator Sherrod Brown is one of the sponsors who introduced the bill.
Solving Common Nursing Home Problems
One of the biggest problems among nursing homes—especially during COVID-19—has been a worker shortage. Nursing home workers are notoriously overworked and underpaid. This directly affects the standard of care a resident receives. Thousands of residents died during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether from the virus, neglect or other types of nursing home abuse.
The bill would address the worker shortage, in part by increasing wages and benefits, and addressing the staffing shortage. Nursing home employers who offer better wages, benefits and reasonable workloads are bound to attract quality applicants. In turn, reducing workloads allows workers to pay more attention to the residents. That makes it easier to catch problems before they develop into serious issues.
Whether the bill passes, it’s still important to keep an eye on your loved ones in nursing homes. Your vigilance will help ensure that they receive appropriate care—and if there are signs of nursing home abuse, you’ll be able to take action right away. The Nursing Home Improvement and Accountability Act of 2021 is a step in the right direction, but in the meantime, it’s important to stay attentive.
The attorneys at Dworken & Bernstein can help with your nursing home abuse case. Call us today to get started.