As 2022 is coming to a close, it is important to plan for the coming year and take stock of what we’ve already accomplished. This year the Biden administration turned vital attention to low nursing home staff numbers that have plagued the industry for decades. The administration proposed important regulations that would require a staffing minimum and some other checks and balances on nursing homes across the country. But now we all have a chance to advocate a little more for these changes. Over the next few weeks, show you support for nursing home provisions in an end-of-year appropriations bill that is set to be proposed in Congress.
What is an Appropriations Bill?
For anyone unfamiliar with the terminology, an appropriations bill is simply a piece of legislation that appropriates funds to a specific governmental department.
Why is this important?
One of the biggest problems with enforcing nursing home regulations is a lack of staff at regulatory organizations. These government departments are responsible for monitoring nursing home quality of care and handling violations, including reports of abuse. For example, according to a USA Today article, state regulatory agencies in charge of nursing home surveys and certification have not received an increase in funding since 2014. In 2014 there were 15,534 nursing homes in the U.S., in 2022 there are 26,514.
Providing more funding to these agencies would better prepare them for keeping a close eye on all nursing homes. More funding would mean fewer violations slipping through the cracks and more thorough investigations of infractions.
The Provisions Needed in the Appropriations Bill
To help support this cause, we recommend writing to your Congressional representative either via email or mail. When you do so, it is important to explicitly state what provisions you would like included in the appropriations bill.
Please include the following:
- Increased funding for state regulatory agencies in charge of nursing home survey and certification.
- Increased funding for CMS to allow them to audit Medicare cost reports. This would increase transparency and allow close scrutiny of how COVID-19 provider relief funds as well as Medicaid and Medicare money is being spent.
- Provide funding for activities that would require accurate data on nursing home resident health conditions and treatment is provided.
To contact your representative, visit Congress.gov and search by ZIP code.
Support America’s elderly population by advocating for better treatment, staffing regulations, greater transparency, honesty, and improved quality of care.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, call Gharibian Law (877-875-1119) for a free consultation and the best legal representation.