Long-term care nursing homes would have another avenue to challenge state findings of deficiencies or safety violations under a bill approved unanimously Wednesday by a Senate committee.
The measure by Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, R-25, Jefferson County, gives nursing homes the option to participate in an independent review process to resolve disputes with the Health Department.
Under the bill, a nursing home could hire a firm that specializes in quality monitoring of health care if it wants an independent review. The home would select the firm from a list maintained by the Health Department. The other option is for the nursing home to participate in an existing dispute resolution process run by the department.
Scarnati told members of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee his measure is a "common-sense" proposal that won't cost the state money yet addresses issues stemming from the Health Department having multiple roles in nursing home oversight.
"The Department of Health is both the judge, jury and prosecutor," he added. "It (bill) gives nursing homes a fair shot at addressing the complaint."
Scarnati said any independent recommendations made through this process would only be implemented upon approval of the Health Department. The measure requires the department to provide a written explanation if it disagrees with a recommendation that reverses a finding of deficiency.
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Nursing Home Bill Clears Senate Panel