Senator Needleman Supports Senate Passage Of Bill Increasing Nursing Home Staffing Transparency

HARTFORD, CT – Today, the Senate passed legislation requiring nursing homes to increase transparency and ensure their residents receive effective care. State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) endorsed its passing. The Senate Democratic Caucus proposed the concept as part of its 2019 agenda.

“This bill is personal for me. I’ve had many loved ones who have relied on this kind of care. Often, patients in nursing homes cannot take care of themselves. They depend on their caretakers, and when those caretakers are overworked, they are left helpless. The care and treatment of people at the end of their lives, or who otherwise cannot take care of themselves, require thorough, compassionate care. This bill will ensure the wellbeing of those patients, reserving their dignity by ensuring their loved ones will have accessible, thorough information about their loved ones’ care. It puts disciplinary action on the table for nursing homes who don’t meet necessary levels. I look forward to seeing it reach the House floor.”

Senate Bill No. 375, “An Act Concerning Nursing Home Staffing Levels,” is designed to ensure nursing home residents receive adequate care. It requires these homes to calculate and post information about the total number of nurses and nursing aides who directly work with patients, the minimum number of staff required for each shift, the total number of residents at the home, details on reporting a potential violation, and other pertinent information. That information must be retained for 18 months.

If a nursing home violates patient care or nursing staff levels, this legislation allows the Department of Public Health to potentially take disciplinary action against the home. It additionally protects employees and residents who report suspected violations or works with investigators and makes homes liable for damages to employees or residents who would be retaliated against. The Department of Public Health reported 247 incidents caused by lapses of care in nursing homes between 2015 and 2018. Not every incident is reported. Senate President Martin Looney testified that the bill’s ensuring transparent reporting of direct care nursing staff levels will additionally allow residents’ family members to be assured their loved ones are receiving appropriate care.

Prior to its approval by the Senate, this legislation passed the Public Health Committee by a 14-11 vote.