Harrisburg, Pa. − April 19, 2022 − A new package of legislation proposed by State Senators Maria Collett (D-12 Montgomery/Bucks) and Nikil Saval (D-1 Philadelphia) will bring greater transparency, accountability, and support for residents and staff at Pennsylvania’s nursing homes to help protect seniors’ rights to high-quality, lifesaving care.
Gaps in current state regulations mean that nursing home residents and their loved ones lack access to information about providers, while incomplete reporting requirements mean that the legislature lacks the ability to fully address providers’ funding needs.
“As a nurse who worked in long-term care, I’ve experienced the anxieties of being short-staffed and under-resourced, as well as the joy and fulfillment of caring for aging residents,” said Senator Collett, Democratic Chair of the Senate Aging & Youth Committee. “Every Pennsylvanian deserves to age with dignity, and I have long advocated for greater funding for bedside care. With so many of our nursing homes run by for-profit companies, our Commonwealth needs policies in place to make sure we are being good stewards of taxpayer money and advocates for frontline workers and – most importantly – nursing home residents.”
Across the United States, nearly 70% of all nursing homes are run by for-profit corporations, with more than 1.3 million Americans in their care.
“Care work is one of the most highly skilled, most difficult, and most crucial fields of work to undertake, and right now, in nursing homes throughout our Commonwealth, this field is in crisis,” said Senator Saval. “Workers are stretched impossibly thin, and residents and their families have lost faith in a system that has failed them repeatedly. Senator Collett is an incredible advocate for our nursing care workers and the patients and loved ones they support, and I’m proud to join her in introducing this suite of bills to bring accountability to our system and ensure that care is prioritized above all else.”
As nursing home providers consistently report underfunding, and as Medicaid reimbursement rates remain stagnant, it’s past time for an honest, public conversation about funding our long-term care industry. The legislation proposed by Senators Collett and Saval fills the holes in Pennsylvania’s current system, ensuring accountability along the continuum of care.
This comprehensive legislative package will include four bills:
- Consolidated Financial Reporting
In order to fully understand the financial challenges facing nursing home providers, this bill will require consolidated financial reports for licensed operators and their related business entities to be submitted annually to providers’ licensing departments.
- Targeting the Use of State Funding to Bedside Care
This legislation will require a minimum of 75% of all state funding for skilled nursing facilities go to direct bedside care.
- Ownership Transparency Requirements
To help both the Commonwealth and the public understand who is operating our nursing homes, this legislation will require complete ownership information for each individual or entity that owns more than the minimum reporting threshold established within the bill of the operating, parent, or related businesses of the skilled nursing facility.
- Licensing Reform
When a nursing home operator decides to cease operations, state agencies and stakeholders work to find a new operator to ensure continuation of quality care. The Commonwealth has a duty to ensure that licensed operators, and any of their controlling interests, are thoroughly vetted. This legislation will prohibit the licensure of facilities which have a majority or controlling interest in related businesses/parent companies that have a history of closing skilled nursing facilities in the Commonwealth or across the country – unless granted special relief from these requirements.
With an eye on greater transparency, this legislation represents a bold but essential first step in reforming Pennsylvania’s fraught nursing home industry.
Senator Collett: Bailey Landis, Bailey.Landis@pasenate.com, 215-688-0493
Senator Saval: Natasha Cahill, Natasha.Cahill@pasenate.com, 610-247-9754