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Rep. Lucille Roybal-AllardNow that the 2010 general election is history, I call your attention to a piece of proposed federal legislation that deserves the support of all persons concerned with the quality of care offered to nursing home residents.  All partisanship aside, I waited to bring up H.R. 6261 until I knew the sponsoring legislator would be around for another term to help make her bill a reality. I’m pleased that Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard easily won re-election this past Tuesday (she won by a margin of over 50%!)  We need many more champions for nursing home reform like this lady!

Rep. Roybal-Allard is the chief sponsor of the Nursing Home Patient Protection & Standards Act (H.R. 6261). Citing a Government Accountability Report from November 2009, Roybal-Allard argues that nursing home surveyors (inspectors) are pressured by state legislators, nursing home bosses and nursing home industry groups to under-report problems discovered at nursing homes. Roybal-Allard noted that in many instances the entire nursing home inspection process is compromised.  We totally agree with her when she says that manipulation of inspectors in order to overlook neglect and other care problems and thus render worthless inspection results “is unacceptable”!

H.R. 6261, which will be considered by the  House Ways and Means Committee, also would improve the staffing level for survey teams and establish an advisory committee comprised of nursing home stakeholders to focus on improving the quality of nursing home care.

ACTION ALERT: Please call, send an e-mail message or an old fashioned letter to your U.S. Congressperson and ask them to 1) Co-Sponsor H.R. 6261, 2) Put pressure on House Ways and Means Committee to bring up the bill for debate and vote and 3) Vote in favor of H.R. 6261 when it comes to the floor of the House for a vote.

Do you know how to find the contact information for all of your local, state and federal elected officials? A search by their name through Google, or some other Internet search engine, is probably the easiest way to find this information.  A call or visit to your local public library is another way to find this information (every reference librarian worth their salt can easily provide you with this information in just a few minutes).

Rest assured that you do not have to be the most eloquent writer on the planet to be able to write effective messages to your elected representatives! In fact, the more concise (to-the-point) your message, the better.  Here’s what I just wrote to my U.S. Congressman, John Yarmuth, through his website regarding H.R. 6261…

“I am writing to ask that you support a piece of legislation that would improve the integrity of nursing home inspections and thus greatly contribute to improving the quality of nursing home care.

Specifically, I ask that you support — and even become a co-sponsor — for H.R. 6261, the Nursing Home Patient Protection & Standards Act, which was recently introduced in the House Ways & Means Committee by California Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard.

From my own experience as the health care advocate for my late mother, I can assure you that what goes on in many nursing homes in terms of the care offered is not only disgusting – much of what is done and not done to/for nursing residents should be considered criminal! H.R. 6261 will bring about needed improvements to the nursing home inspection (survey) process that will lead to uncovering and ultimately addressing problems that are currently (at best) being under-reported.”

Feel free to “copy and paste” what I wrote above — editing it as you like — as the basis for your message to your U.S. congressperson regarding H.R. 6261.

Nursing Home News Watch

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