AHCA: New reform bill "well-intentioned, but off-target"

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Bruce Yarwood, AHCA CEO
Bruce Yarwood, AHCA CEO
After a brief bout of initial praise for the newly introduced Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act of 2008, the American Health Care Association offered a different take on the bill Friday. The lobbying group released a statement calling it "well-intentioned, but off-target."

While agreeing with the overall spirit of the bill, AHCA offered some recommendations to Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) that they claim will “better benefit and address the needs of patients, their families, and those who serve them.”

AHCA urged Congress to look more closely at the nurse and caregiver shortage, which influences quality of care. It also argued that financial disclosure, one of the aspects of the bill, would “create yet another administrative burden for long term care facilities.” Finally, AHCA criticized the bill's call for an increase in the Civil Money Penalties limit to $100,000 on providers whose deficiencies lead to the death of a resident, and up to $25,000 for harm or injury. Instead of doubling the fines and requiring more immediate payment, CMS instead should be directed to better use its current authority, AHCA said.