December 6, 2022
In this Issue:
- Urge Your Members of Congress to Include Provisions that Support and Protect Nursing Home Residents in End of Year Appropriations Bill
- Webinar: Illegal Nursing Home Debt Collection Practices
- DOH Report Identifies Residents at Increased Risk of Discharge from Nursing Homes
- Consumer Product Safety Commission Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Use of Adult Portable Bed Rails
- Elder Care IQ Tool Shows Quality Care Records of Long-Term Care Providers in Minnesota
Urge Your Members of Congress to Include Provisions that Support and Protect Nursing Home Residents in End of Year Appropriations Bill
On December 6th, Consumer Voice and other advocates sent a letter to Congress asking them to include critical nursing home provisions in an end of year appropriations bill. These provisions would further the ambitious and historic nursing home reforms announced by President Biden in February 2022. President Biden’s reforms focused on care quality, particularly staffing, enforcement and accountability, and transparency in how nursing homes spend tax dollars.
Contact your members of Congress today and tell them to stand with nursing home residents and include these important provisions.
Just last week, the USA Today published an article detailing the failures of federal and state government to enforce staffing regulations. The article details the devastating effect poor staffing and poor enforcement has on nursing home residents. nursing home residents has been documented for decades. In 2021, the House of Representatives passed a bill that included provisions that would directly address the problems detailed in the USA Today article.
These important provisions would:
- Provide funding to support state regulatory agencies in their survey and certification activities. There has not been an increase in funding for oversight agencies since 2014.
- Provide funding to CMS to audit Medicare cost reports. In 2020, nursing homes received $66.9 billion in Medicare and Medicaid dollars. Additionally, they received tens of billions of dollars in COVID-19 provider relief funds. Yet little to no scrutiny is placed on how this money is spent.
- Provide funding to ensure accurate data on nursing home resident health conditions and treatment. Nursing homes submit data to the federal government on each nursing home resident in their care, yet these data are not audited for accuracy.
In addition, the bill reauthorized and updated the Elder Justice Act which provided crucial funding for long-term care staff, ombudsman and adult protective services programs, and to other critical programs that serve Older Americans.
Send a message to your members of Congress telling them to include these provisions in an end of the year appropriations bill.
Webinar: Illegal Nursing Home Debt Collection Practices
Nursing homes are prohibited from requesting or requiring a third party to guarantee payment for a resident's admission or continued stay. Despite this prohibition, some facilities seek to collect residents' debts from relatives, caregivers, and others if the resident or their estate cannot pay. Nursing homes hire debt collectors to demand payment, report the debt as belonging to caregivers and other third-parties, and even sue them in court. These practices can violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Join the webinar Thursday, December 15th at 3:00pm ET with the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, with a special guest from the National Consumer Law Center, where we will address these unscrupulous practices, discuss resident and family rights during the admissions process, and offer strategies for assisting residents and families.
DOH Report Identifies Residents at Increased Risk of Discharge from Nursing Homes
A recent report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services used Medicare data to identifiy certain characteristics or risk factors that placed nursing home residents at an increased risk of discharge.
These characteristics included:
- Residents with severe behavioral symptoms.
- Residents with psychiatric and mood disorders.
- Residents with impairments that required more staff time.
- Residents transitioning to Medicaid.
Residents with these risk factors were more likely to be discharged from for-profit nursing homes.
This report confirms what residents and advocates have learned from experience: residents with medical conditions that require increased care are often at greater risk of being discharged from nursing homes. Importantly, the report notes that all of the health conditions that place residents at an increased risk of discharge are conditions nursing homes are required to treat.
Read Consumer Voice's summary of the DOH report and also access information and resources on nursing home discharge.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Use of Adult Portable Bed Rails
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking about the use of adult portable bed rails [CPSC-2013-0022]. Comments are requested to be submitted at www.regulations.gov, Docket No. CPSC-2013-0022, by January 9th 2023.
The CPSC has determined preliminarily that there is an unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with entrapment hazards from adult portable bed rails (APBRs). It is proposing a rule to require that adult portable bed rails meet the requirements of applicable voluntary standards created in 2017. Among CPSC's findings leading to this action is that manufacturers of these devices failed to comply fully (or even at all) with the voluntary standards established in 2017, and the number of injuries skyrocketed to over 5,000 for the years 2020 and 2021 - the last years for which statistics have been completed.
CPSC seeks comments on the following:
- Information regarding any analysis and/or tests done on APBRs in relation to the risks of injury or death they present;
- Information regarding any potential costs or benefits of the proposed rule that were not included in the foregoing preliminary regulatory analysis;
- Information regarding the number of small businesses impacted by the proposed rule and the magnitude of the impacts of the proposed rule;
- The testing procedures and methods of the proposed rule and whether they sufficiently reduce the risk associated with APBRs, or whether other measures are necessary and information demonstrating how these measures address the identified risks;
- Potential alternatives to APBRs if they are banned, and the impact that a ban on APBRs would have on consumers;
- Any qualitative or quantitative evidence concerning the utility that APBRs have for consumers relative to alternative products that might be used as substitutes in the event APBRs are banned; and
- The appropriateness of the 30-day effective date, and a quantification of how a 30-day effective date would affect the benefits and costs of the proposed rule.
For more information and Consumer Voice materials and statements on this issue, visit our website.
Elder Care IQ Tool Shows Quality Care Records for Long-Term Care Providers in Minnesota
Elder Voice Advocates (EVA), formerly Elder Voice Family Advoates, is launching a new tool in Minnesota. Elder Care IQ helps people easily see if a long-term care or home health care provider has a track record for providing quality care. The tool includes an interactive map that includes any elder care facility licensed to do business in Minnesota. Simply click on that provider — and any investigations of abuse, neglect or exploitation will pop up, along with issues that were identified during regular inspections. EVA plans to expand Elder Care IQ in the future to include more quality care data from state and federal government sources.