Nursing home sales, closures could face more scrutiny in MA

New rules proposed by Massachusetts officials could put more pressure on nursing home operators looking to sell or close their facilities.

Under the proposed rules, owners who intend to sell a nursing home would be required to give written notice to residents, their families and councils, staff, unions representing workers, the state ombudsman's office and state and local officials.

A public hearing would also have to be held prior to the facility being sold if at least 10 people petitioned the state health department. Public hearings would be mandatory for facilities planning to close, with no petitions needed. Public notices of closure would also be required for closing homes.

The proposed laws will “force transparency and force the light of day,” and will “stop companies from coming in and doing harm to long-term care communities,” Massachusetts Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler (D) told the Boston Globe.

The recommendations come on the heels of concerns raised about the quality of Massachusetts's elder care industry. Chandler cited Synergy Health Centers in their concerns about monitoring nursing home sales. Synergy, a company which had no track record of operating nursing homes, has bought 11 facilities in Massachusetts over the past three years, and has been issued dozens of citations for patient safety and care violations.

The proposed rules are open for public comments.