Nursing home operators with severe care deficiencies could face civil money fines up to $100,000 – 10 times the current maximum – under a new bill set to be introduced today in the U.S. Senate.
Federal health officials also will develop a national monitoring program for addressing corporate-level problems among nursing home chains, according to provisions of the "Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act of 2008" supported by Sens. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Nursing home transparency is a main focus of the bill, which would add information on facility ownership, special-focus facilities, standardized complaint forms and nursing home inspection reports to the Nursing Home Compare Web site. It also would empower the Department of Health and Human Services secretary to develop a national independent monitoring program that would oversee large nursing home chains.
Hopefully, enforcement of Resident’s Rights and prevention of neglect and abuse will start to become a national political issue before the huge influx of baby boomers need nursing home care. I am sure the corporate lobbyists for the industry will delay or gut the final legislation.