Massive Nursing Home System Overhaul Proposed

A bipartisan bill introduced by Republican Senator Grassley and Democratic Senator Kohl seeks massive reforms of the nursing home industry. The Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act is being haled as the largest reform of the nursing home system in nearly 21 years.

One of the key provisions in the bill would require nursing homes to file paperwork clearly stating ownership. This is in response to a recent trend of private investment groups purchasing nursing homes and then enveloping them in a quagmire of procedures that effectively shield them from liability. These structures make it increasingly difficult to identify parties responsible for substandard care and shield owners from potential lawsuits. The bill also would standardize complaint forms, improve staff reporting, and replace some self-reported information with information from independent audits. The goal of these provisions is to increase transparency and assist the public in comparing nursing homes.

The bill largely affects for-profit nursing homes and is receiving support from not-for-profit facilities as they are already required to produce much of the same information to achieve tax exempt status. Ultimately, the bill is a much needed response to declining care in nursing homes stemming from vague ownership structures that make it increasingly difficult to hold inferior facilities accountable.

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