Pascrell Opening Statement on Nursing Home Reform at Markup of Build Back Better Act
Washington, DC, September 10, 2021
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, issued the following statement as the panel considers measures relating to skilled nursing facilities at markup of the Build Back Better Act.
Chairman Pascrell Opening Statement (as prepared for delivery)
Our nursing home population has been disproportionately devastated by this virus.
While nursing facility residents are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, there were existing gaps and deficiencies that went unaddressed.
There is no single solution to the myriad of problems COVID-19 exposed. But significant improvements to staffing and oversight, along with better data systems and transparency would increase quality and safety for residents and staff.
The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the important relationship between sufficient staffing and the safety of nursing homes residents. Understaffed facilities are two times more likely to have COVID-19 resident infections than comparable facilities with higher staffing levels.
For years, researchers have linked low staffing levels to poor quality and patient safety violations.
This provision addresses the unreliable and confusing ways we tracked and improved safety in nursing homes. It will ensure payment adequacy and that residents receive the best possible quality of care.
These commonsense and long overdue investments will direct vital resources to these settings, which have become such sources of heartbreak and loss over the last two years.
This is an unprecedented investment in nursing home care. It fills a much-needed gap in transparency, accountability, quality of care, and staffing.
Nursing homes will now be better prepared to face future public health emergencies.
This is not the time to let our foot off the gas in fighting for our seniors and people with disabilities that reside in nursing homes. Patients and staff deserve more.