Nursing Home Improvement and Accountability Act

The Nursing Home Improvement and Accountability Act will improve the quality of care at nursing homes. The legislation will increase safety and maintain the health and well-being of America’s vulnerable adults. The legislation proposes minimum staffing requirements, increases Medicaid funding and bans mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements hidden in admission paperwork.

HHS would apply the staffing minimums (4.1 HPPD) to the Medicare and Medicaid requirements of participation. Nursing homes would need to have an RN on duty at all times. Right now, it is only 8 hours a day. Nursing homes would provide 40 hours a week of infection control by a specialist. This will help future preventable deaths from the next pandemic.

False or inaccurate information about direct care staff through the Payroll Based Journal database results in fines of up to $10,000. Nursing homes would have to post a surety bond of at least $500,000 or a comparable bond under state law.

Cynthia Morton is the executive vice president of the National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care. She opines:

“[The Nursing Home Improvement and Accountability Act] is a piece of legislation to really watch. It’s not a done deal yet. It’s just preliminary, but just to kind of give you a feel that this Nursing Home Improvement and Accountability Act definitely has traction, definitely has legs.” 

The bill would also explore future possibilities for smaller, safer nursing homes. HHS would provide nursing homes with money to modify their physical structures so that a facility would have 5 to 14 residents with private rooms.