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US Senate Begins Consideration of Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act

The US Senate has begun consideration of a new act that would raise the bar on nursing home care nationwide and attempt to curb nursing home abuse and neglect. The Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act, S. 2641, would shed light on the quality and operation of nursing homes and implement new standards for care. Specifically, the Act would provide public information on the owners/operators of nursing homes, the staff turnover, nurse staffing levels, and penalties the home receives for poor care. Together, this information will help elder advocates and nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers to get a better sense of an individual home’s quality of care.

Additionally, the Act would require independent audits of nursing home chains and increase sanctions on chains with chronic problems of nursing home abuse and neglect. Facilities in violation would face increased civil penalties including fines up to $100,000 when a resident dies from nursing home abuse and neglect. Facilities would also have to pay fines into escrow accounts pending appeals.

Other provisions include a requirement that facilities give 60 days notice when they plan to close and allow for continuation of Medicare and Medicaid payments until residents are successfully relocated and a provision to provide for studies of temporary management and training of nurse aides and supervisors.

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