Understanding the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act of 2019

January 30, 2020

Residents in nursing homes require quality care to live with dignity. Elderly individuals account for a majority of the residents, but these indispensable institutions also provide essential care for patients with mental conditions or physical limitations. These facilities care for more than 1.3 million patients every year in the U.S. This vital care is only possible when the facilities are equipped with enough trained staff to handle the needs of residents. A bill put forth in both houses of Congress aims to address these needs.

The Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act of 2019 aims to codify into law the necessary regulations to ensure that these care facilities are operating according to proven standards that address resident concerns. In addition to creating staffing requirements, the new rules call for nursing homes to provide nursing staff with appropriate training and support. The law protects residents from forced arbitration agreements, establishes protocols for certain practices, and gives staff and residents a way to report abuse. Studies have shown that a higher incidence of nursing home abuse has been linked to insufficient staffing and training.

Bill Requirements

The bill requires that each resident receive a minimum of 4.1 hours of direct nursing care per day. This amount of individual attention is considered the minimum required to provide the necessary threshold for quality care. The staffing requirements are divided into specific staff/patient ratios for three timeframes during the day, evening, and night. Staffing is also broken down by nursing personnel, outlining requirements throughout the day for registered nurses, licensed practical/vocational nurses, and certified nursing assistants.

According to the press release, the bill:

  • Establishes minimum nurse staffing levels for nursing homes under Medicare and Medicaid
  • Expands training requirements and supervision for all nursing staff
  • Creates whistleblower and other protections for nursing home personnel and residents
  • Prohibits the use of forced arbitration agreements between residents and any nursing home entity
  • Develops a standardized protocol for nursing facilities to obtain informed consent for residents for treatment with psychotropic drugs

Brooklyn Elder Law Lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Advocate for Nursing Home Residents

Nursing homes are supposed to care for our loved ones when their care becomes too much for us, but if the staff is overburdened or insufficiently trained, it is the helpless residents who suffer. If your loved one suffered as a result of an understaffed or incompetent nursing home, the Brooklyn elder law lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP can represent the interests of your loved one. Contact us online or call us at 212-495-8133 for an initial consultation. With offices in Brooklyn, New York, and Lakewood, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York.