AHCA/NCAL Releases Statement in Response to Senate Aging Committee Hearing

Advocacy; Survey and Certification
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and other long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a statement in reaction to today’s Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing titled “Residents at Risk: The Strained Nursing Home Inspection System and the Need to Improve Oversight, Transparency, and Accountability.” 
The following statement is attributable to Holly Harmon, senior vice president of Quality, Regulatory, and Clinical Services at AHCA/NCAL:
“We appreciate the Senate Committee on Aging’s focus on this important issue and share concerns surrounding the backlog of nursing home surveys. Conducting timely surveys of nursing homes is important for consistency in the regulatory process. The shortage of state surveyors is indicative of a larger workforce crisis facing the entire long term care profession. As the committee’s report signals, addressing this labor crisis requires significant investments, not mandates. We need a concerted, supportive effort to help recruit more individuals to serve our nation’s seniors, and we have proposed a comprehensive set of policies that would help grow and strengthen the nursing home workforce.  
“Especially coming out of the pandemic, this situation also presents an opportunity to reconsider the status quo and improve the oversight process to be more resident-driven. The current survey and enforcement system has been shown to be inconsistent and ineffective. We need to focus on the science of quality improvement by recognizing good faith efforts, leveraging continuous learning, and effectively remedying identified issues.  
“Enforcement alone will not transform America’s nursing homes. If we truly want to improve care, then we need policymakers to prioritize, support, and invest in our nation’s most vulnerable and their caregivers. We look forward to working with members of Congress, the Administration, and other stakeholders on these more meaningful efforts that will make a difference in the lives of our residents.”