By National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care

FRIDAY, NOV 22 2019

Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced H.R. 5216 and S.2943, the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act of 2019. This legislation would address the concern faced by far too many residents every day –the lack of adequate numbers of nursing staff to care for them. The bill would require nursing homes to provide at last 4.1 hours of direct care nursing time per resident day (hours per resident day – hprd). Studies show that 4.1 hours per resident day of care is the minimum staffing necessary to prevent common quality problems. In the bill, the 4.1 hours are broken down by type of nursing personnel and shift, and are also expressed in terms of a ratio.  Consumer Voice has long advocated for minimum staffing standards and commends both Congresswoman Schakowsky and Senator Blumenthal for their leadership on this critical issue.

The Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act of 2019  would help ensure that residents of nursing homes are guaranteed their right to appropriate and high quality care. The bill:

  • establishes minimum nurse staffing levels for nursing homes under Medicare and Medicaid;
  • expands training requirements and supervision for all nursing staff;
  • creates whistleblower and other protections for nursing home personnel and residents;
  • prohibits the use of forced arbitration agreements between residents and any nursing home entity; and
  • develops a standardized protocol for nursing facilities to obtain informed consent for residents for treatment with psychotropic drugs.

Read HR 5216 and S 2943.

Both Members of Congress believe more needs to be done to better protect nursing home residents.  According to Congresswoman Schakowsky, she is introducing the bill “to make sure that our nursing homes provide a level of care our seniors deserve. This legislation will provide more adequate staffing, better training for our hardworking nurses, and enhance protections for the legal rights of nursing home residents.” Senator Blumenthal stated, “Our legislation will institute a clear minimum standard for the level of care our seniors deserve at a nursing home. When nursing homes don’t maintain adequate staffing levels, it harms both the dedicated professionals who are trying to provide the best care possible, and the seniors receiving it.”  Read the full press release.

Twenty-five House Members and two Senators joined Congresswoman Schakowsky and Senator Blumenthal as original cosponsors of the legislation.

Consumer Voice will soon be providing more information about these bills and what action advocates can take.