Kohl-Grassley bill aims for larger fines, transparency

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Bruce Yarwood, AHCA CEO
Bruce Yarwood, AHCA CEO
Nursing home operators could face fines up to $100,000 – 10 times the current maximum – and would have to provide more ownership, expenditure and staffing information under a new bill introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Federal health officials also would develop a national monitoring program for addressing corporate-level problems among nursing home chains, under provisions of the “Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act of 2008.” 

Two U.S. senators with high profiles on senior care issues, Special Committee on Aging Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) and past chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), introduced the bill Feb. 14. This was just two days after Kohl announced that federal officials would make all names on a list of poor performing nursing homes public, which is also a part of the bill.

The “transparency” bill emphasizes identifying and more closely monitoring nursing home owners. It has been in the works since the New York Times published a prominent investigation damning the practices of private equity groups who recently purchased facilities and cut expenses and staff while also increasing profits.

Staff-training provisions in the bill would require dementia management and abuse prevention training before starting work. They also would increase training requirements for aides and nurse supervisors.
The prospects of “more meaningful” penalties prominently stand out in the bill. 
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