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Urge Your Members of Congress to Include Provisions that Support and Protect Nursing Home Residents in End of Year Appropriations Bill

December 06, 2022

Nursing home residents need your help! Currently, Congress is discussing important end of the year legislation.  On December 6th, Consumer Voice and other advocates sent a letter to Congress asking them to include critical nursing home provisions in an end of year appropriations bill. Contact your members of Congress today and tell them to stand with nursing home residents and include these important provisions.

These provisions would further the ambitious and historic nursing home reforms announced by President Biden in February 2022. President Biden’s reforms focused on care quality, particularly staffing, enforcement and accountability, and transparency in how nursing homes spend tax dollars.

Just last week, the USA Today published an article detailing the failures of federal and state government to enforce staffing regulations. The article details the devastating effect poor staffing and poor enforcement has on nursing home residents.

The USA Today article found:

  • 76% of nursing homes were not staffed to levels that the federal government pays them to be and of those, only 5% were cited for inadequate staffing.
  • There has not been an increase in funding for the state agencies that enforce nursing home laws and regulations since 2014.
  • Roughly 1/3 of the over 15,000 nursing homes in the United States are overdue for an annual inspection. 
  • 1 in 4 states miss critical federal deadlines when investigating complaints regarding nursing homes.

The connection between poor staffing and poor health outcomes for nursing home residents has been documented for decades.  Yet, the USA Today study shows that a large majority of nursing homes fail to provide enough staffing, and federal and state governments are doing little to hold them accountable for their failures.

In 2021, the House of Representatives passed a bill that included provisions that would directly address the problems detailed in the USA Today article.

These important provisions would:  

  • Provide funding to support state regulatory agencies in their survey and certification activities. There has not been an increase in funding for oversight agencies since 2014. Funding would go towards hiring and training of survey and certification agency staff.
  • Provide funding to CMS to audit Medicare cost reports. In 2020, nursing homes received $66.9 billion in Medicare and Medicaid dollars. Additionally, they received tens of billions of dollars in COVID-19 provider relief funds. Yet little to no scrutiny is placed on how this money is spent. We must have accountability for how our tax dollars are used. 
  • Provide funding to ensure accurate data on nursing home resident health conditions and treatment. Nursing homes submit data to the federal government on each nursing home resident in their care, yet these data are not audited for accuracy. Accurate and complete information is essential to ensuring the well-being of nursing home residents.

In addition, the bill reauthorized and updated the Elder Justice Act which provided crucial funding for long-term care staff, ombudsman and adult protective services programs, and to other critical programs that serve Older Americans.

Send a message to your members of Congress telling them to include these provisions in an end of the year appropriations bill. Together we can help protect residents!

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