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Concerns about nursing home quality have increased over the last several years. For instance, a June 2019 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the number of cited abuse violations more than doubled between 2013 and 2017. GAO-led stakeholder meetings identified insufficient staffing, staff training, and staff screening as risk factors.

On November 22, 2019, Representative Jan Schakowsky and Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act of 2019 (H.R. 5216 and S. 2943, respectively) to address resident care and quality of life concerns. The Act establishes minimum staffing ratios, improves disclosure of nurse staffing levels, expands staff training and supervision requirements, creates whistleblower and resident protections, prohibits pre-dispute arbitration agreements, and develops a protocol for obtaining written informed consent for psychotropic drugs. Importantly, the Act also imposes meaningful financial penalties for noncompliance.

In a press release, Representative Schakowsky stated, “I consistently read horror stories from around the country of nursing homes that could have done better to protect their residents. I am introducing the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act of 2019 to make sure that our nursing homes provide a level of care our seniors deserve.” Senator Blumenthal added that “[s]eniors and their families shouldn’t have to live in fear that inadequate staffing at their nursing home could result in injury, illness, or worse.”

The Act has 25 original cosponsors in the House and two original cosponsors in the Senate.

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