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.