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Blumenthal & Booker Introduce Legislation to Improve Quality of Care at Nursing Homes

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act to ensure the right to high quality, long-term care for seniors and individuals with disabilities who depend on nursing home facilities. The bill would provide enhanced nursing home staffing, improved training for nurses, and better legal protections for nursing home residents, among other provisions.

“Our legislation will institute a clear minimum standard for the level of care our seniors deserve at a nursing home,” Blumenthal said. “When nursing homes don’t maintain adequate staffing levels, it harms both the dedicated professionals who are trying to provide the best care possible, and the seniors receiving it. Seniors and their families shouldn’t have to live in fear that inadequate staffing at their nursing home could result in injury, illness, or worse.”

“Long-term care facility residents and their families deserve to have the peace of mind that they are being properly taken care of and are safe,” Booker said. “Our bill will create much needed protections for nursing home residents as well as ensure that nursing home staff have the resources and training they need to provide high quality care to their residents.”

The Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act is the first comprehensive legislation to ensure that residents of nursing homes are guaranteed their right to appropriate and high quality care. The bill:

  • Establishes higher minimum nurse staffing levels for nursing homes under Medicare and Medicaid;
  • Expands training requirements and supervision for all nursing staff;
  • Creates whistleblower and other protections for nursing home residents and personnel;
  • Prohibits the use of forced arbitration agreements between residents and any nursing home entity; and
  • Develops a standardized protocol for nursing facilities to obtain written informed consent from residents for treatment with psychotropic drugs.

U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the House companion to this bill, H.R. 598, in late January.

I consistently read horror stories from around the country of nursing homes that could have done better to protect their residents. I introduced H.R. 598 to make sure that our nursing homes provide a level of care our seniors deserve. This legislation will provide more adequate staffing, better training for our hardworking nurses, and enhanced protections for the legal rights of nursing home residents,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “Putting a loved one in a nursing facility is always a difficult decision. We must ensure nursing home residents are not harmed because of deficiencies in the facilities they rely on to survive. Every person in the United States deserves the right to age with dignity and respect.”

Today, Blumenthal and Booker also introduced the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents and Workers During COVID-19 Act to protect and improve the well-being of those living and working in nursing homes.