Category: Government Help

Senate Finance Committee Hearing Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Senate Finance Committee Hearing Held on Nursing Homes Abuse and Neglect

Not Forgotten:  Protecting Americans From Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes

By Chrystal Griggs, Regional Ombudsman for Central Texas Council of Governments

On March 6, 2019, the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Grassley, held a hearing entitled, “Not Forgotten: Protecting Americans From Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes.” After opening statements from Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Senator Ron Wyden, the daughters of two nursing home residents gave heartbreaking and distressing testimony about each of their mother’s experiences – one with neglect, the other with abuse. Following their statements, five additional witnesses provided testimony:  Dr. David Gifford, American Health Care Association; Dr. David Grabowksi, Harvard Medical School; Dr. Kate Goodrich, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Antoinette Bacon, Department of Justice; and Keesha Mitchell, Office of the Ohio Attorney General.

Numerous issues were raised during the hearing, among them, Nursing Home Compare and the Five-Star Rating System, the closing of rural nursing homes, Medicaid reimbursement rates, regulations and enforcement, and staffing. Director of Public Policy and Advocacy Robyn Grant attended the hearing. She expressed concern that there was no consumer advocate on the panel who could have testified to the resident experience nationwide and provided the consumer perspective on care, abuse, and neglect. Grant also voiced disappointment that although the title of the hearing indicated the topic would be abuse and neglect, there was not a focused discussion and examination of ways to prevent and end nursing home abuse and neglect.

View a recording of the hearing on the Senate Finance Committee’s Facebook page.

Empower Care Act

Empower Care Act Introduced in Senate

Money Follows the Person Legislation Introduced

Shared from an article published by National Consumer Voice

Great news!  Two bills have been introduced to extend the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Program for five years!   Called the Empower Care Act, a Senate bill (S. 548) by Senators Portman and Cantwell, and a House Bill (H.R. 1342) by Congresspersons Guthrie and Dingell, would continue and improve the program through 2023.  Improvements include reducing how long someone must be in a nursing home before becoming eligible to transition from 90 days to 60.

The five-year extension is critically important.  Congress passed $112 million in funding for the program in January 2019 (H.R. 259), but this money ends in September and could even run out sooner.

As we have previously noted, MFP benefits both long-term care consumers and states. MFP helps individuals with disabilities and seniors who want to move out of nursing homes or other institutions and back into their communities, where they can live independently and experience an improved quality of life. At the same time, it helps states improve access to home and community-based long-term services and supports and save money.

It’s exciting to see these bills so early in the session.  Stay tuned for more updates and information about advocacy action.