New Nursing Home Oversight Measures Advance in House Committee


September 10, 2021 4:29 pm

Nursing homes would get help in retaining workers and also face tougher federal oversight in a slate of elder-care measures advanced by a House panel Friday.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved the elder justice legislation by a 24-18 vote and the nursing home bill by a 24-17 vote. Both pieces will be included in Democrats’ $3.5 trillion sweeping domestic policy package, which the House and Senate aim to send to President Joe Biden‘s desk this month. Stephanie Murphy (Fla.) was only Democrat to vote no – Republicans all voted no.

The quality of nursing home care has come under question since last year, when Covid-19 hit seniors in long-term care facilities the hardest. The virus killed more than 186,000 residents and staff of nursing homes, according to an AARP database.

“The U.S. population is aging, and to help Americans age and live safely in place without facing the risk of experiencing various forms of maltreatment,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said.

The committee’s proposal would open up $400 million in grants per year for three years to bolster pay for nursing home workers and help long-term care facilities retain staff through student loan repayment or child-care programs.

It would also empower the government to reduce payments to nursing homes that lie to authorities about their number of workers to hide understaffed facilities. The package would create ombudsman programs to flag elder abuse and neglect.