The health care law provides nursing home residents with more protections from abuse.
The law makes more information available about nursing homes so consumers can be better informed when selecting a nursing home, or monitoring the care of a loved one who resides in a nursing home. Under the law:
• Information about nursing homes will detail who owns the nursing home, how much the nursing home spends on resident care compared with administrative costs, the hours of nursing care residents receive, staff turnover rates, and the number of complaints and violations.
• Each state must have a comprehensive nursing home website with information about local nursing homes, including inspection and complaint reports.
• Besides the information currently available on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website, consumers will find links to state nursing home websites and inspection information, a resident rights page, staffing information and a standardized complaint form.
• It will be easier for you to file complaints about the quality of care in a nursing home. Your state will be required to have a process in place to resolve complaints about nursing homes, and the process must ensure that you are not retaliated against if you file a complaint. In addition, the law requires that you be notified that your complaint has been received and how it has been resolved.
• If a nursing home will be closed, residents and their families must be told of the closure far enough in advance so they'll have time to make other plans. State officials must ensure that all residents have been successfully relocated before the closure.
• States can participate in a new national grant program to expand criminal background checks of long-term care employees. Although most states currently require some sort of a background check of certified nursing aides who work in nursing homes, the grant provides funding for the background checks of other workers who come in direct contact with patients and residents, such as home health aides, assisted-living personnel and more nursing home staff.