AHCA Statement on Efforts to Curb Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Washington, D.C. — David Gifford, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at the American Health Care Association (AHCA) issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance hearing held on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, entitled Not Forgotten: Protecting Americans From Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes.

“We at the American Health Care Association (AHCA) are appalled and disgusted with the cases of abuse and neglect shared at today’s hearing. Families and residents who are often at their most vulnerable and in the most need of care and support should never have to worry about their safety.

“AHCA remains committed to reducing any future cases of abuse and neglect. Since we voluntarily launched our Quality Initiative in 2012, we have seen tremendous improvements in the quality of care provided to nursing home residents. Care at our members’ nursing homes continues to improve and remain high for 18 of the 24 quality outcomes measured by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), including fewer residents receiving antipsychotic medications and more people returning home after rehabilitation care.

“AHCA stands ready to work with Congress, members of the Senate Finance Committee, CMS, and other providers to keep residents safe and continue improving the quality of care provided. There are robust regulatory requirements and penalties already in place to ensure patients are protected and corrective measures are implemented after a case of abuse or neglect occurs. But we can – and must – do more.

​​​“We should expand federal programs that attract health care workers to the nursing home profession. We should strengthen federal regulations around reporting and sharing of information about employees who have engaged in abuse through the creation of a national background check registry. And we should make resident and family satisfaction ratings of nursing homes publicly available.”