The Biden Administration has set out a comprehensive roadmap to improve safety and quality of care for nursing home residents. “These would be, without question, the most important and positive changes in federal nursing home law and policy since the Nursing Home Reform Law was enacted in 1987,” said Center for Medicare Advocacy Senior Policy Attorney Toby S. Edelman. More than 200,000 nursing home residents and staff members have died from COVID-19. These tragic deaths, highlighting longstanding problems in how nursing homes operate and are regulated, must lead to strong action. The President’s proposals promise a positive and constructive way forward. The Administration has committed itself to make certain changes directly and it calls on Congress to enact new laws where legislative action is needed.
The Administration’s agenda addresses many issues that have plagued nursing home for decades, including the need to improve nurse staffing levels and the treatment and working conditions for nurse aides who provide most of the direct care to residents as well as the need to strengthen the public oversight system to ensure that facilities receiving reimbursement from the Medicare and Medicaid programs actually meet quality of care standards and provide each resident with high quality care. The agenda also addresses recently emerging policy issues, such as the role of private equity and other private corporate and chain owners.
“With the Biden blueprint, we have a real opportunity to make real the promise of the Nursing Home Reform Law – so that each resident truly receives all the care and services he or she needs to maintain the highest possible physical, mental, and psychosocial wellbeing,” said Edelman.