1. Resolve Staffing Issues
The NHIAA will require all nursing homes to employ an “infection prevention and control specialist”—someone who controls and prevents the spread of diseases—and ensure that nurses are available 24 hours a day (currently nurses must be present only 8 hours a day). It also gives power to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study how many nurses and nursing assistants are needed in nursing homes to be able to provide quality care to residents. Then the HHS can also use that information to ensure that facilities are never understaffed.
2. Protect Seniors’ Legal Rights
Many nursing homes require applicants to sign an arbitration agreement before being admitted into the facility, which requires the residents and the facilities to resolve issues together instead of suing each other in court. The bill will protect seniors so that they won’t have to choose between long-term care and their right to sue their nursing home if they suffer during their car.
3. Ensure that Nursing Homes are Financially Stable
To ensure that nursing and long-term care facilities are financially secure, the bill requires that the post a bond of $500,000 to the HHS as an emergency fund. This bond ensures that there will always be money available in case of emergencies or unexpected circumstances, for example, if the facility must suddenly close or if it faces financial hardships. The HHS will also provide additional oversight to low-performing nursing homes to help improve their quality of care, infection control, and emergency preparedness.
4. Modernize the Physical Environments
Facilities will receive help to upgrade their physical space for residents and staff. The NHIAA proposes to “enhance staff experience” and “promote evidence-based, patient-centered care for residents” to make nursing homes better places to live and work. There will also be a demonstration program which provides money to nursing homes so that they can invest in improving the facilities and raise workforce standards.
You can read more about the Nursing Home Improvement and Accountability Act here and read it in its entirety here.