Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl have introduced the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act of 2008 which seeks to force nursing homes to provide clearer information about ownership and accountability. Confusion regarding ownership has made it difficult for regulators to identify parties responsible for poor care and shields owners from potential lawsuits. Additionally, a primary goal is to make it easier for the public to compare nursing homes.
The legislation would trigger the largest reform of nursing home care in 21 years. The law would force nursing homes to file paperwork clearly stating ownership to enable the residents and the government to know who actually owns the nursing home. The troublesome trend in care rendered by nursing homes owned by corporate conglomerates was outlined in an article that concluded that care declined at many facilities operating under such structures.
The bill would also increase potential civil money penalties that could be imposed. Instead of penalties up to $10,000, the penalties would increase to up to $100,000 for a deficiency resulting in death, $3,000-$25,000 for deficiencies at the level of actually harm or immediate jeopardy and not more than $3,000 for other deficiencies. Staff training would be improved to include dementia management and abuse prevention training as part of pre-employment training. The bill also seeks to standardize complaint forms, improve reporting on staffing information, and replace some self-reported information.
The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims including those involving neglect or abuse at nursing homes. These cases can involve the deprivation of the nursing home resident’s civil rights, enabling recovery of attorney’s fees and possibly punitive damages pursuant to Article 28 of the Public Health Law.
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