Representatives introduce 'transparency' bill in House

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Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Long-term care providers have offered mixed reactions to the “Nursing Home Transparency and Quality of Care Improvement Act of 2008,” which was introduced in the House last month.

Introduced by Reps. Pete Stark (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), the legislation (H.R. 7128) would expand nursing home ownership transparency and increase enforcement compliance with care standards. It aligns with S. 2641, a bill introduced in February by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Herb Kohl (D-WI.).

“The nursing home industry is trending toward a lack of transparency and accountability, which can make it impossible for families to know who is calling the shots when it comes to the care provided to their loved ones,” Stark, who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, said in a statement.

The bill has split the long-term care provider community. The American Health Care Association has expressed reservations about the bill because of its reliance on the survey and certification process, which AHCA believes is flawed and inconsistent. Meanwhile, the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, which comprises only nonprofit organizations, sent a letter of support for the bill to Stark.

The legislation would require nursing homes to disclose information about staffing levels, direct patient care spending, and ownership.
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