Clinton Proposes New Regulations For Nursing Homes
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, July 21) -- President Bill Clinton announced plans Tuesday to increase enforcement of nursing home regulations and called on Congress to pass legislation aimed at cutting down on nursing home abuses.
"When people living in nursing homes have as much to fear from dehydration and poor nutrition as they do from diseases of old age, when families must worry as much about a loved one in a nursing home as one living alone, then we are failing our parents and we must do more," Clinton said at the Oval Office event.
Using his executive powers, Clinton announced his plan to do more, unveiling a measure to increase spot inspections of nursing homes, cancel contracts with states that do not crack down on substandard nursing homes and fine facilities that do not provide proper care.(480K wav sound)
Clinton also called on Congress to create a registry of nursing home employees that would keep track of workers with a history of abuse and prevent potentially abusive criminals from being hired on in nursing homes.
"Choosing to move a parent or loved one into a nursing home is one of life's most difficult decisions, but with these steps we can at least give families a greater sense of security in knowing we are doing everything we possibly can to make nursing homes safe and secure," Clinton said. (256K wav sound)
The president also used the opportunity to celebrate his administration's efforts to improve Medicare coverage and to call for Congress to pass his proposed patients' bill of rights.
The nursing home proposal is aimed in part at increasing enforcement of 1995 laws that created regulations for nursing homes, to be supervised at the state level. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala said while the level of care in nursing homes has improved since the passage of the 1995 legislation, the improvements are not as great as lawmakers had hoped.
Clinton's proposal was based upon the findings of a study completed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The nursing home regulations put into effect in 1995 and reinforced Tuesday are aimed at ensuring nursing homes meet nutrition standards and make efforts to combat chronic problems such as bed sores, malnutrition and dehydration.
Enforcement of the regulations falls under the jurisdiction of the Health Care Financing Administration, which administers the Medicare program.
CNN's John King contributed to this report