Pennsylvania senators put spotlight on troubled nursing homes

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A report published by Pennsylvania’s senators revealed hundreds of nursing homes across the country have serious health and safety violations.

While the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which conducted the study, wasn’t going to make the names of the facilities public, the lawmakers did it themselves.

Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, and Sen. Patrick Toomey, a Republican, say it can be difficult for a person or family to decide to place a loved one in a nursing home.

“This is a critical, sometimes life-altering decision,” Casey said.

“They absolutely deserve to have the information about the quality of care their loved one is going to get,” Toomey added.

CMS is in charge of a special monitoring program for nursing homes that have health and safety issues. The report included nearly 400 nursing homes in the U.S. that are underperforming, and the agency kept that information hidden from the public.

“We were disturbed to learn that there was a whole category of nursing homes across America, including some in Pennsylvania, that did not meet the normal standards of care and quality and yet their names were being withheld,” Toomey said.

According to Toomey, fewer than a hundred of the facilities are participating in the monitoring program.

“Those are disclosed, but the only reason that the other 400 are not in that program is because there’s not enough manpower,” he added.

CMS told the senators that federal budget reductions just don’t give them enough resources to properly report.

“They need more money, I’ll support it,” Casey said. “I’m in the ‘whatever dollar amount it takes’ category to fix this problem.”

The lawmakers hope the study will lead to improved nursing home care and help consumers make informed decisions about which facility they choose.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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