In this Issue
- White House Announces Reform Plan to Crack Down on Nursing Home Bad Actors
- CANHR’s 2022 Legislative Priorities
- Biggest Nursing Home Bill in a Generation Heads to the State Senate
- Federal Legislation Introduced to Stop Medicaid Recovery
- Assisted Living Waiver (ALW) Slot Expansion
- Justice in Aging’s Litigation Win and Release of Guide on Improving Nursing Home Care
- CMS Adds COVID-19 Booster Data and Staffing Data for Nursing Homes on Care Compare
- Nursing Home and Assisted Living Visitation Update
- The Progressive Magazine Features Long Term Care Facility Evictions
- Cal Long Term Care Compare Website Re-Launched
White House Announces Reform Plan to Crack Down on Nursing Home Bad Actors
On February 28, 2022, the White House announced plans for far-reaching reforms to improve the safety and quality of nursing home care, establish and enforce a federal minimum staffing requirement, fight inappropriate drugging of residents, strengthen emergency preparedness standards, integrate pandemic lessons into requirements, hold poor performing nursing homes and chains accountable, and improve public information on nursing home ownership and quality.
The bold statement took direct aim at the nursing home industry, acknowledging widespread failures by nursing homes to comply with federal standards and the need “to crack down on bad actors.” Decisive action is needed now, it states, or unacceptable conditions may get worse.
CANHR applauds the Biden Administration for standing up so strongly for nursing home residents and is excited to work with it to make a real difference in residents’ lives.
CANHR’s 2022 Legislative Priorities
This year CANHR is working on exciting legislation that would reform nursing home ownership, reduce inappropriate drugging of nursing home residents, provide access to resident-designated support persons during public health emergencies, protect conservatees, make Medi-Cal more equitable, and more! Check out our Legislation Website for more information.
Biggest Nursing Home Bill in a Generation Heads to the State Senate
CANHR-sponsored Assembly Bill 1502 (Muratsuchi and Wood) was passed by the state Assembly on January 31 and is now in the state Senate! AB 1502 would end the longstanding problem of zombie nursing home licenses, where nursing homes are operated by unsuitable, unapproved, and unaccountable persons and entities while the actual licensee is long gone from the scene. The bill is opposed by the nursing home industry and is sure to face a battle in the Senate. Be ready for alerts about how you can help support the most important nursing home reform bill in decades.
Federal Legislation Introduced to Stop Medicaid Recovery
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the House Democratic Task Force on Aging and Families, introduced the Stop Unfair Medicaid Recoveries Act. This legislation would repeal the federal requirement that state Medicaid programs go after families and estates for repayment of Medicaid long-term care services.
“Imagine losing a loved one and putting them to rest, only to have Medicaid come knocking on your door demanding you now pay for the long-term care your departed relative received – an amount that has reached, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sadly, too many families experience this traumatic, horrific and cruel situation all the time. It is a well-kept secret with devastating and shocking consequences to families,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky.
Current federal law requires state Medicaid programs to seek repayment of Medicaid long-term care benefits, even if the state would prefer not to seek that recovery. The Medicaid program’s claim is enforced against the heirs of the deceased Medicaid recipient.
The Stop Unfair Medicaid Recoveries Act (H.R. 6698) is endorsed by Justice in Aging, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, The Western Center on Law and Poverty, The Arc of the United States, Caring Across Generations, The National Domestic Workers Alliance, Families USA, and Easterseals.
Original cosponsoring Members are Representatives Doris Matsui, Yvette Clarke, Rosa DeLauro, Debbie Dingell, Mike Quigley, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Mark Pocan, Mary Gay Scanlon, Danny Davis, Jesús “Chuy” García, and Ayanna Pressley.
Assisted Living Waiver (ALW) Slot Expansion
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved California’s request to increase ALW capacity by approving 7,000 additional slots. This amendment is retroactive to July 1, 2021 and will be conditionally funded by the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage through the American Rescue Act Plan following implementation of California’s HCBS spending plan. The expansion will help keep eligible seniors and persons with disabilities in their communities and out of institutional care settings.
Justice in Aging’s Litigation Win and Release of Guide on Improving Nursing Home Care
Justice in Aging, along with the Center for Medicare and Advocacy and pro bono firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, celebrated a big win that will impact hundreds of thousands of Medicare beneficiaries. The federal appeals court ruled that a class of Medicare beneficiaries can file an appeal with CMS when their hospital stay classifications are changed from “inpatient” to “observation status.” These classifications can lead to devastating financial consequences when a patient later needs skilled nursing care because Medicare may not cover such care unless a person was classified as an “inpatient” for at least three days. The ability to appeal their status change will prevent Medicare beneficiaries from losing money to pay for nursing home care after leaving the hospital.
Additionally, Justice in Aging released a new version of their popular guide, 25 Common Nursing Home Problems—& How to Resolve Them, to include information on eviction protections, COVID-19 specific information for the ongoing public health emergency, and more. The guide helps advocates secure better care and protect the rights of nursing home residents. Get the updated guide.
CMS Adds COVID-19 Booster Data and Staffing Data for Nursing Homes on Care Compare
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is now posting booster information along with other vaccination data for residents and staff on each nursing home’s homepage on its Care Compare website. The information separately reports facility, state and federal percentages for resident vaccinations, resident boosters, staff vaccinations and staff boosters.
CMS also announced that it has added staff turnover rates and weekend staffing levels for nursing homes under the staffing section for each facility on Care Compare.
Nursing Home and Assisted Living Visitation Update
On February 7, 2022, California issued new guidance for nursing homes and for assisted living facilities that re-set visitation to the pre-Omicron policies but with some important changes. See CANHR’s factsheet.
The Progressive Magazine Features Long Term Care Facility Evictions
A cover story from The Progressive Magazine, entitled “I Want to Go Home,” tells the heartbreaking story of the illegal eviction of Elaine Benz, a 97 year-old assisted living resident in Wisconsin. Elaine lived at an assisted living facility called The Regency New Berlin for ten years before she was unceremoniously booted in October 2021 following a fall and transfer to a hospital. While Elaine was in a nursing home rehabilitating from her injury, The Regency refused to allow her to come home, a classic “resident dumping” eviction that is prevalent throughout the country.
Cal Long Term Care Compare Website Re-Launched
On January 27, 2022, the Cal Long Term Care Compare website was re-launched to provide nursing home consumers with information about finding a nursing home and data with which to compare facilities. While websites and rating systems can be helpful, CANHR cautions consumers from relying on them exclusively. See our fact sheet on How to Choose a Nursing Home for more information.