By: John Krikorian
On the cutting edge of taking on Nursing Homes and Elder Abuse Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, 5th District pushed for a grading system for Nursing and Convalescent Homes. The following statement was received from the Supervisor:” To ensure the health and well-being of the County’s senior population, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich directing the Department of Public Health to reexamine the feasibility of a grading system for nursing and convalescent homes The motion directs the Chief Executive Officer to prepare a five signature letter to the Governor, the California Legislature, and the Director of the State Department of Public Health to support a facility rating guide for skilled nursing facilities and convalescent homes. “In an industry where tens of thousands of our elderly live, it is imperative that these facilities are graded,” said Antonovich. “This will ensure that families and the public are kept informed of the conditions and standard of care provided at convalescent homes and nursing facilities.” A facility rating guide for these facilities would function much like the County’s restaurant grading system initiated by Supervisor Antonovich in 1997, graded on their compliance with health regulations and those marks prominently displayed.
The Advocate, a newsletter, published by the California Advocates for Nursing Home reform, notes that for the “first time in 20 years, Congress is showing strong, bipartisan interest in establishing new protections for victims of elder abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities”.
Introduced this year, the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act of 2008 (S.2641, H.R.5799) would increase public transparency and accountability of nursing home owners and operators – including nursing home chains – by requiring them to disclose the corporate entities that own nursing homes and the affiliated entities that operate, manage or control them. The bill would also provide consumers important new information through new reporting requirements on nursing staffing levels, turnover and retention and the amount of funding spent on direct care. S.2641 is sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley (R–IA) and Senator Herb Kohl (D–WI).
The Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007 (S.1577, H.R.3078) would establish a nationwide system of background checks for long term care workers. Introduced in June 2007 by Senator Herb Kohl, the bill would greatly improve the current patchwork system of background checks that primarily focus on nursing assistants. The bill would require national criminal history background checks, including an FBI fingerprint check, for individuals seeking employment with Medicare or Medicaid (Medi–Cal) funded long term care providers. By so doing, the bill would keep workers with histories of criminal abuse from escaping detection by moving from job to job and state to state.
The Elder Justice Act (S.1070, H.R.1783) would make the fight against elder abuse a national priority. It would establish a wide range of programs to improve detection and handling of elder abuse, including actions that would better protect nursing home and assisted living facility residents from abuse. This bill, which has been building support for several years, was reintroduced in 2007 in the Senate by Senator Orrin Hatch (R–UT) and Senator Blanche Lincoln (D–AR). Senator Barbara Boxer of California is one of 29 Senate sponsors. Support and action are most needed on the House side, where the companion bill, H.R. 1783, is sponsored by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D–IL) and co–authored by Rep. Peter King (R–NY).
Contact Your Congressional Representatives
Contact information for both Senators Feinstein and Boxer is available on their web sites: www.feinstein.senate.gov and www.boxer.senate.gov. For additional information visit www.canhr.org or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, write: P.O. Box 2065, Glendale, CA 91209.
WISE & POWERFUL WORDS
- You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
- You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
- You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
- You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
- You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
- You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence.
- You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.