There was a great editorial letter recently by Diana Rhodes in the Casper Star-Tribune Online discussing the need for updated regulations and reforms in the nursing home industry. Below is a copy of the letter.
Congress hasn’t passed legislation to improve nursing home care since 1987. It has a chance to do so now in health care reform.
There have been a lot of changes in the nursing home industry in two decades — not all of them good. Several large chains have been bought out by global private equity investors; in fact, a majority of nursing homes are owned by for-profit corporations. The way these companies structure themselves, even our state health regulators can’t tell who owns them sometimes, especially when the owners are out-of-state. This can create a dangerous situation for the residents, because no one is truly accountable for what happens to them.
The Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act is part of the draft health care reform bills that the House and Senate are considering. It would make nursing homes disclose their owners and operators. It would also give families a lot more information about the nursing homes they put their loved ones in, including whether they have adequate staff. It would help the federal government get better oversight over these multi-state chains.
I want to urge Sen. John Barrasso, Sen. Mike Enzi, and Rep. Cynthia Lummis to support nursing home transparency and improvement in health care reform. The elderly and people with disabilities in our state deserve nursing homes that are transparent and accountable, and families need information to make good choices when they choose a nursing home for someone.