Sending Office: Honorable Janice D. Schakowsky
GUARANTEE THE HUMAN RIGHT TO HIGH QUALITY, LONG TERM CARE: COSPONSOR the
Quality Care for Nursing Homes Residents Act of 2019 (H.R. 5216)
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic reminds us that we are failing to adequately protect our nation’s nursing home residents. H.R. 5216 would address understaffing and insufficient staff training that increases residents’ risk of contracting
an infection and experiencing abuse.
Nursing homes provide essential care for more than 1.3 million Americans every year—older Americans, individuals with disabilities, and patients with physical and mental health concerns all depend on these facilities for quality care to survive and to live
a fuller life.
However, nursing homes in the United States are too often understaffed and mismanaged, preventing residents from receiving the care they need. A June 2019
Government Accountability Office report found that understaffing and insufficient staff training increases residents’ risk of experiencing abuse. In fact, the number of nursing home resident abuse citations
more than doubled between 2013 and 2017, and a
CNN investigation found hundreds of cases of residents who were sexually assaulted and even raped by nursing home staff.
Inadequate staffing and training can lead to a host of negative health consequences, from untreated bedsores to
avoidable hospitalizations and even death. A
resident in Iowa was given an overdose of a potent seizure medication by an aide who did not know how to measure the drug properly. A
Florida resident “died from an infection that spread from his untreated, rotting genitals.” A
97-year old woman in Illinois was so uncared for that she had bedsores “on both buttocks the size of a golf ball with no treatment.”
Nursing home residents deserve better. When nurse staffing levels are adequate, everyone benefits. An
analysis by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “found that as staffing levels increase, quality increases.” Adequate nurse staffing levels also help protect patient safety by retaining our skilled nursing workforce, as understaffing can lead
burnout and low retention rates.
The Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act of 2019
is the first comprehensive legislation to ensure that residents of nursing homes are guaranteed their right to appropriate and high-quality care. The bill establishes minimum nurse staffing and care levels for nursing homes under Medicare and Medicaid,
expands training requirements for nursing aides, and creates whistleblower and other protections for nursing home personnel and residents. It also prohibits the use of forced arbitration agreements and develops a standardized protocol for nursing facilities
to obtain informed consent for residents for treatment with psychotropic drugs.
We must finally act to protect one of our most vulnerable populations. Please join me and Senator Blumenthal as a cosponsor of this important bicameral legislation to ensure residents of nursing homes get the care they deserve. For more information or to sign
on, contact Osaremen Okolo at Osaremen.Okolo@mail.house.gov or 5-2111.
Member of Congress
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