The U.S. Senate has introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at improving protections for nursing home residents from abuse or neglect in facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid. The PROTECTS act, which stands for Promote Responsible Oversight and Targeted Employee Background Check Transparency for Seniors, hopes to increase staffing quality levels according to WBFO News.
The PROTECTS act seeks “to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to increase the ability of Medicare and Medicaid providers to access the National Practitioner Data Bank for the purpose of conducting employee background checks.” This increased access to the National Practitioner Data Bank would allow facilities to conduct faster background checks by accessing a national database of certified nursing assistants and registered nurses. Access to the database would also allow the PROTECTS act recipients to potentially recognize potential staff who have been flagged for previous incidents of abuse or neglect in other facilities.
The bipartisan legislation to help protect older adults and long-term care patients from abuse has already received official endorsements from the American Health Care Association and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice. These endorsements have encouraged some lawmakers, who hope to pass the bill quickly.
New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand, a co-sponsor of the PROTECTS act, told reporters in a statement that “The PROTECTS Act would improve the standards of care in long-term facilities by bringing more transparency to workforce quality and protecting our seniors.” Additionally, Senator Gillibrand told sources that access would not only be granted to nursing homes and care facilities, but also “home health agencies, hospice programs, and pharmacies,” to ensure that any facility that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding is also able to access the database in order to ensure the quality of their staff.
For more information about the dangers of nursing home neglect and abuse, visit the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys’ Neglect and Abuse Page.