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On June 4, 2018, the House of Representatives Democratic Caucus Seniors Task Force held a briefing on “Protecting Seniors by Improving – Not Eroding – Nursing Home Quality Standards.” The Center for Medicare Advocacy, led by Senior Policy Attorney Toby Edelman, presented on the enforcement of the nursing home standards, as well as the current crisis in nursing home ownership and management.

Ms. Edelman highlighted that enforcement of the nursing home standards has been historically weak in this Administration, which has resulted in most deficiencies (95+ percent) being cited as “no harm.” As she explained, “no harm” citations mean that facilities are not financially penalized for violations of resident rights and protections. Ms. Edelman also illustrated recent changes made by the Administration, including efforts to rollback nursing home resident protections. Ms. Edelman ended her presentation by examining changes in the industry as a result of insufficient state and federal oversight of nursing home ownership and management.

The Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC), National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice), California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), as well as a Professor from the University of California-San Francisco, also presented on key issues of concern facing nursing home residents. Janet Wells, Consultant for CANHR, provided background on the Nursing Home Reform Law and a look at a recent example of resident abuse. Richard Mollot, Executive Director of LTCCC, spoke about nursing home quality and oversight, focusing on the inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs, pressure ulcers, and inadequate staffing. Charlene Harrington, Professor at UCSF, discussed nursing home financial and accountability issues, highlighting Medicare’s high reimbursement rates and hidden nursing home profits. Lastly, Robyn Grant, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Consumer Voice, provided policy recommendations for addressing the issues raised during the briefing, including ways to strengthen enforcement and increase staffing.

The presenting organizations plan to conduct a webinar based on the information provided at the briefing. We will provide additional information about the date and how to register for the webinar when it becomes available.

June 7, 2018 – D. Valanejad

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