Sen. Chuck Grassley issued a statement demanding that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provide the Senate with a thorough report on the “comprehensive review” the agency plans to conduct on its nursing home oversight. Last month, the Republican Senator held a hearing on nursing home abuse and excoriated the nursing home industry and its grossly inadequate government oversight. In response to the spectacle on Capitol Hill, Administrator Seema Verma announced the agency would perform a “comprehensive review” of its nursing home oversight. In a statement issued by his office, Sen. Grassley described the news as “encouraging” but also directed the government to prepare a report on its planned changes.
After a fiery attack on the nursing home industry, Sen. Grassley does not plan on letting the government-funded industry to continue with its blatant violations. Speaking to McKnight’s Long Term Care News, Sen. Grassley said, “As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I’ll continue conducting diligent oversight of the nursing home industry. Once these reports are available and I’ve had time to review their findings, I intend to hold another hearing to learn the facts and find workable solutions.” The Senator from Iowa directed both the Department of Health and Human Services and CMS to prepare reports for a Senate hearing later this year.
Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published more disheartening information about nursing home oversight. According to the GAO, CMS failed to collect comprehensive data on nursing homes in Oregon for more than 15 years. The report overstated the obvious when it said that this may “indicate a potentially larger problem.” Sen. Grassley was unequivocal, “Incomplete data means an incomplete picture of a facility’s ability to care for its elderly residents.”
A long-time critic of the nursing home industry, Sen. Grassley’s criticisms have only mounted in the last couple years as the Trump Administration has chipped away at regulations and elder rights. The Senator from Iowa says once the comprehensive review of nursing home regulations is presented to the Senate then, depending on the results, it may begin drafting nursing home abuse legislation.