Senate Hearing Regarding U.S. Nursing Homes Called Attention to Unfixed Issues and Reform 

An estimated 1.5 million individuals receive care from nursing homes nationwide each day, many of whom are living with serious physical and cognitive impairments, leaving them frail and remarkably vulnerable to abuse and neglect injustices. On July 23, 2019, members of the Senate Finance Committee Hearing once again heard pleas from elder community leaders about the constant struggles of Americans dependent on Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

(CMS) regulated skilled nursing facilities face each day. These guests discussed the continual lack of follow thru to require facilities to improve, a disregard to follow federal regulation by U.S. nursing home administrators, and ongoing failures to meet minimum care standards.

Understaffed facilities remain the most stagnant, ongoing issue regarding nursing home faults because understaffing creates a mountain of additional resident care needs failing to be met. Consumer Voice Executive Director Lori Smetanka provided this statement from her testimony to the committee titled, “Promoting Elder Justice: A Call for Reform.”

“A primary factor for ensuring that residents receive good care, and that will go a long way in the prevention of abuse and neglect, is to ensure that nursing homes have adequate numbers of competent staff. Studies have established the relationship between staffing levels and quality of care. When there is not enough well-trained and well-supervised staff, residents suffer. They experience painful pressure ulcers, malnutrition, dehydration, infections, preventable hospitalization, injuries, and more. Severe lack of staff, when combined with stress and burnout, are factors that can lead to neglect and abuse.”

Smetanka recommended that Congress establish and enforce minimum requirements for sufficient numbers of direct care nursing staff, including that a registered nurse be on-site 24 hours per day.

These additional five requests to the committee were also made.

  1. Requiring standards for a sufficient, well-trained, well-supervised workforce
  2. Establishing standards and oversight for facility ownership and operations, and expanding accountability to the corporate level
  3. Implementing, enforcing and preventing the rollback of standards
  4. Increasing transparency of information
  5. Strengthening and funding elder justice provisions

Other applaudable witnesses who provided testimony at the hearing included:

  • Megan H. Tinker, Senior Advisor for Legal Review, Office of Counsel to the Inspector General, United States Department of Health and Human Services.
  • John E. Dicken, Director of Health Care, United States Government Accountability Office (GAO)
  • Robert B. Blancato, National Coordinator, Elder Justice Coalition
  • Mark Parkinson, President & Chief Executive Officer, American Health Care Association

Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) also provided statements.

We applaud these elder care and residents’ rights leaders for their work. And as one of the nation’s top nursing home abuse and neglect law firms, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti are just as frustrated with those who continue to allow nursing homes to fail at even the minimum of performance standards. Collectively, there needs to be serious reform in the care expectations set for the roughly 1.3 million nursing home residents who are dependent on our nation’s nursing homes.

Levin & Perconti: Legal Voice for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect 

If someone you love has been the victim of abuse or neglect while residing in a nursing home, rehabilitation center, or other long or short-term care facility, the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Levin & Perconti want to help you. Our attorneys have nearly three decades of experience in successfully bringing nursing home systems overseen by CMS to task for failing patients.

With over half a billion dollars recovered for our clients, our attorneys are committed to bringing justice to families whose loved ones have been harmed by these facilities. Please, contact us now for a FREE consultation at 312-332-2872 in Chicago, toll-free at 1-877-374-1417, or by completing our online case evaluation form.

Also read: Nursing Homes Continue To Fail Under CMS Turmoil