Nursing Home Disclosure Act Reintroduced in 118th Congress
Last week, as their first legislative introduction for the new Congress, Reps. Mike Levin (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) reintroduced the Nursing Home Disclosure Act (H. R. 177), bipartisan legislation to improve public disclosure of nursing home medical directors. Currently, some nursing homes do not provide a full public report of who their medical directors are, leaving families without critical information they need as they search for quality nursing homes and care for their loved ones.
“Seniors and their families deserve the opportunity to choose a nursing home with full knowledge and transparency about the medical director on staff,” said Rep. Levin. “It’s unacceptable that some nursing homes do not provide a full public accounting of who their medical director is. Our bipartisan bill will rectify that and require transparency that families need to have faith in their nursing homes.”
To qualify for Medicare payments, skilled nursing facilities must designate a physician to serve as medical director to implement resident care policies and coordinate medical care in the facility. While nursing homes are currently required to report all “managing employees,” which should include medical directors, there is significant underreporting in the system. During the first quarter of 2019, 30% of nursing homes did not report staff hours for their medical directors.
"Nursing homes are essential for providing resources and services to seniors," said Rep. Fitzpatrick. "The bipartisan Nursing Home Disclosure Act would require more consistent disclosures of on-site medical directors for potential residents and their families, ensuring an increase in quality of care throughout nursing homes."
Medicare’s Care Compare tool is an online database that helps Medicare beneficiaries find a Medicare provider. For nursing homes, Care Compare provides important information, including an overall five-star rating, ownership details, and the latest health and fire inspection results.
The Nursing Home Disclosure Act would add an explicit requirement for nursing homes to disclose their medical director and would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to publish this information on the Care Compare website. This change would increase transparency for families as they search for nursing homes for their loved ones and would ensure the data collection necessary to hold facilities accountable for hiring qualified medical directors.
The Society supports H.R 177. “We are grateful to Representatives Levin and Fitzpatrick for their leadership in reintroducing their nursing home transparency bill on the first day of the new Congress. This demonstrates that making medical directors known to families, their loved ones, and policymakers is a high priority in keeping our frail residents safe and in improving the quality of their care, and their quality of life,” said Chris Laxton, AMDA’s executive director.