May 15, 2019

Senator Haskell Votes ‘Yea’ On Bill Increasing Nursing Home Staffing Transparency

HARTFORD, CT – Today, the Senate passed legislation requiring nursing homes to increase transparency, better ensuring their residents receive effective care. State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) supported the bill on the Senate floor and urged his colleagues in the House to address this key topic. The Senate Democratic Caucus proposed the concept as part of its 2019 agenda.

“Nursing home residents and the compassionate employees who take care of them deserve our respect and support,” said Sen. Haskell. “That’s why we took action to make sure our residents are properly monitored and relieve strain on caretakers, preventing them from being overworked. I am excited to see it move on to the House.”

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.