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Support for White House’s Proposed Nursing Home Reforms

March 1, 2022

Dignity Alliance released a statement applauding the White House’s proposed nursing home reforms(pdf). The release highlights DignityMA priorities. The Release and White House Proposal are copied in full below.

Media Release on White House’s Proposed Nursing Home Reforms

March 1, 2022— (Boston, MA)–The COVID-19 pandemic exposed longstanding problems in nursing homes that are being addressed through systemic reform at the federal level.  Yesterday, the White House, proclaiming that “All people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” announced important initiatives that can improve the safety, care, and quality of life for millions of vulnerable nursing home residents, now and in the future. 

The pandemic took a devastating toll on nursing home residents nationally, and in particular in Massachusetts – more than 5,700 nursing home resident deaths account for about 30% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths, even though nursing home residents comprise less than half of 1% of the Commonwealth’s population.

A White House statement details key reforms that aim to protect vulnerable residents, assert the dignity of residents and their caregivers, and hold nursing homes accountable when they fail to follow federal requirements.

These important initiatives include:

Ensuring taxpayer dollars support nursing homes that provide safe, adequate, and dignified care by implementing safe staffing levels, addressing the misuse of antipsychotic drugs, and more, including:

  1. Enhancing accountability and oversight; 
  2. Increasing transparency of facility ownership and finances and a range of improvements to Care Compare, a website to help you pick a nursing home; 
  3. Creating pathways to good-paying jobs with the free and fair choice to join a union; and 
  4. Ensuring pandemic and emergency preparedness in nursing homes. 

“This is the biggest and most positive news for nursing home residents in the 35 years since the Nursing Home Reform Act was established,” said Arlene Germain, executive director of the Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Home Reform and a co-founder of Dignity Alliance Massachusetts. “For years, we have watched as an increasingly sophisticated and corporatized industry has, too often, cut back on staffing and essential services to maximize profits. We are profoundly grateful to the President for taking these critical actions for the safety, well-being, and dignity of vulnerable residents, their families, caregivers, and American taxpayers, who foot the bill for most nursing home care.”

Letter to MA Legislature:

In advance of this evening’s State of the Union Address by President Biden, the White House has issued a statement describing the President’s plan to improve the quality and safety of care in our nation’s nursing homes and to ensure the dignity of their residents and their caregivers, Protecting Seniors and People with Disabilities by Improving Safety and Quality of Care in the Nation’s Nursing Homes.

Dignity Alliance Massachusetts enthusiastically applauds the President for this plan.  It is fully consistent with the goals and objectives which we laid out two years ago when our advocacy efforts got underway at the onset of the pandemic.  Attached is the media release which has been distributed this afternoon expressing our wholehearted support of the President’s comprehensive reform efforts.

In the year ahead, we look forward to working with Massachusetts Legislators, Members of Congress, and Administration officials in the realization of the prospect of bringing nursing homes and the provision of long term care and services fully into the 21st century and ensuring the well-being and dignity of our most vulnerable citizens and their caregivers.