LTC hearings in both chambers of Congress tomorrow

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Long-term care providers can consider today the lull before the storm. Tomorrow, Congressional hearings in both the Senate and the House will feature presentations sure to widely criticize the state of affairs in nursing homes.

"It's been far too long since Congress has focused on nursing home quality issues," warned House Ways and Means Committee Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark (D-CA), who will lead a morning hearing on ownership and quality issues. "I am concerned about quality issues and lack of accountability, particularly as more and more beneficiaries are now living in private equity-owned homes. While we must not prejudge anything, these changes provide ample reason for us to reinitiate close oversight of this industry to make sure that interests of beneficiaries are protected."

Invited speakers include union and staffing experts known to be highly critical of provider practices, as well as a special assistant attorney general for the State of Mississippi.

In the afternoon, Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) will lead a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing titled "Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement."

Both hearings are in direct response to a Sept. 23 New York Times front-page story that detailed apparent shortcomings in care by nursing homes recently purchased by private investors who also may have lowered staffing while boosting profits.