Recently, I’ve been talking about the effect the Comprehensive Health Care Reform Bill and the Reconciliation Act of 2010, commonly referred to as the Health Care Reform package, has had on the elderly and those with special needs.
The reach of this law has been extremely comprehensive. It establishes the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, a new national long-term care insurance program funded through voluntary payroll deductions. It also allocates $10 million per year for 5 years to fund an Aging and Disability Resource Center and its initiatives.
It requires nursing homes to disclose the name of their owners, financiers, operators, suppliers and any others who might need to be held accountable for the care their residents receive. This has been long in coming and has been an ongoing problem as many nursing homes have built in 3, 4, and even 5 or 6 levels of ownership and control, making it virtually impossible for an injured nursing home resident to find out who to sue when an injury occurs. We have encountered this problem on more than one occasion, so this is a welcome change.
Another welcome change in the law requires the government to collect and report on how well nursing homes are staffed, the hours of nursing care the residents receive, how much the home spends on personnel wages and benefits, and the rate of staff turnover. Nursing homes will have to report their expenditures by category, such as those for nursing, therapy, assets and administrative services.
It also eliminates a common ploy practiced by some nursing homes – that of filing extended appeals in order to delay the payment of civil fines and penalties. Now the nursing homes will have to pay the penalties, but the funds will be held in escrow until the appeal is decided.
Finally, the Act provides training to workers who provide care for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s in order to prevent occurrences of abuse.
Next time, I’ll address additional consequences of the Health Care Reform Act.
Attorney at Law
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