THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Thursday, March 25, 1999
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
PROTECTING OUR ELDERLY
Today, President Clinton signs the Nursing Home Resident Protection Act of 1999, which prohibits nursing homes that decide to withdraw from the Medicaid program from expelling or transferring current residents who are enrolled in Medicaid. The President is also calling on Congress to pass the nursing home quality enforcement provisions in his fiscal year 2000 budget, which provides over $309 million to prevent nursing home resident abuse and neglect.
A Bipartisan Effort To Protect Vulnerable Older Americans. Two-thirds of nursing home residents depend on Medicaid to pay for their nursing home care, and with nursing home costs averaging $40,000 a year, about half of residents who begin by paying for their care with their own money and health insurance must turn to Medicaid within three to five years. Today, the President signs the Nursing Home Resident Protection Act of 1999, which provides critical new protections to the hundreds of thousands of nursing home patients who rely on Medicaid to pay for their care. This legislation, approved by an overwhelming majority in both houses of Congress, prohibits nursing homes that decide to stop accepting Medicaid patients from evicting those residents who currently depend on the program to pay for their care.
An Unprecedented Investment In Quality Care For Nursing Home Residents. President Clinton is proposing an investment of $309 million for nursing home quality enforcement activities in his fiscal year 2000 budget, an increase of 31 percent over last year's funding level. In addition to providing an additional $47 million for state survey and certification activities, the proposals in the President's budget will provide additional assurances that nursing-home residents will receive the quality care that they deserve and expect by:
- Requiring nursing homes to conduct criminal background checks of employees;
- Establishing a national registry of workers who have been convicted of abusing residents;
- Allowing more types of nursing home workers with proper training to help residents eat and drink during busy mealtimes.
The President's plan will help ensure high quality care for older Americans, in contrast to the proposed Republican budget, which cuts funding for nursing home quality enforcement activities by 10 percent.
Building On A Commitment To Provide Quality Health Care For The Elderly. The Clinton Administration has made ensuring the health and safety of nursing home residents a top priority and has issued the toughest nursing home regulations in the history of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Since 1993, President Clinton has:
- Taken steps to ensure that all nursing home residents receive good quality care, including increased monitoring of nursing homes to ensure that they are in compliance;
- Required states to crack down on nursing homes that repeatedly violate health and safety requirements;
- Changed the inspection process to increase the focus on preventing bedsores, malnutrition, and resident abuse.
Most recently, the President has directed the Department of Health and Human services to create higher civil monetary penalties for quality violations and provide that these penalties will be more quickly determined and imposed; require states to investigate resident complaints within 10 days; and begin a national campaign this spring to educate the public about the risk of malnutrition and dehydration and preventing abuse and neglect.