Connecticut has ushered into law new transparency rules for nursing home owners and will require a “plain language” explanation of how Medicaid rates are set. 

Lawmakers considered raising the staffing minimum from 3 hours per patient per day to 4.1 hours, but ultimately passed on that. Instead, facilities will now need to notify the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman on the day of involuntary transfers or discharges, and submit annual cost expenditure narratives to the state’s Department of Social Services. 

“The public act reflects important, but incremental changes to existing state rules that have the goal of informing consumers and their families in greater detail about facility finances and greater ownership detail,” Matthew Barrett, president and CEO of Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Monday. 

The final bill merged a number of individual bills — some dealing with nursing homes and others focused on non-LTC facility issues — into one legislative mechanism. Similar to discussions on the federal level, Connecticut’s lawmakers were eager to increase transparency around nursing home finances. 

In April, McKnight’s reported on 18 state attorneys general asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to increase public reporting of nursing home ownership. Months earlier, the federal agency proposed defining private equity and real estate investment trusts, which would allow for disclosure of holdings and what role entities play in facilities. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) has long pushed for enhanced transparency rules for nursing homes, but some experts have warned that such measures could backfire and scare off investors. 

Individuals and companies applying for a license to operate a nursing home in Connecticut will now have to disclose information on private equity companies or real estate investment trusts that own any part of the facility. Audited and certified financial statements will need to be provided to the Department of Public Health. 

Facilities that fail to provide the cost expenditure summaries in narrative form will be subject to fines of up to $10,000. Chronic and convalescent nursing homes that receive Medicaid funding will file annual profit and loss statements for each party that receives at least $30,000 of income from the facility. 

“The adopted provisions build off of well-established state and federal protection that have been in place for many years, and skilled nursing facilities anticipate having no issues with complying with the new provisions,” Barrett said. 

Similarly, Mag Morelli, president of LeadingAge Connecticut, said that facilities will have little issue complying with the new involuntary transfer directives under which nursing homes must “affirm” to the resident being transferred that the LTC Ombudsman was properly notified. If the facility fails to notify the ombudsman, the transfer or discharge cannot move ahead.