BOSTON (WWLP) – The House pushed forward a bill Wednesday to overhaul the long-term care sector.
On the last day of the formal session, House leaders are looking to reform the long-term care industry before their holiday break. This comprehensive piece of legislation looks at expanding the workforce, “enhancing oversight of facilities, prioritizing quality of care, and ensuring access.”
This bill was birthed out of the recommendations made by the 2020 Nursing Facility Task Force Report, a report that occurred before the pandemic. However, the bill would mandate that all long-term care facilities create an infection outbreak response plan which would be submitted to the Department of Public Health for review every year.
It also directs DPH to create training and education on things like infection prevention and control. To expand the workforce, the legislation creates workforce training grants to create new Certified Nursing Assistants, it also creates career ladder program grants and training.
For oversight purposes, the bill raises civil penalties in situations of abuse or neglect by 400 percent.
“Quality and oversight those are the two goals here, to make sure we’re giving quality care to these seniors who are in these long-term facilities, but also oversight. We want to make sure that any facility that is not living up to the standard, that we are able to take corrective actions and filter out those, those bad facilities,” Rep. Orlando Ramos said.
Licensing regulations are also a part of this bill to keep nursing homes safe, a provision sets a two-year term for licenses and requires annual inspections.
Now, the legislature is scheduled for a seven-week holiday break from formal lawmaking after Wednesday and the Senate has not signaled that they would be taking on this bill next year.