NURSING HOMES: Clinton Asks for More Oversight Funds
President Clinton will ask Congress for an additional $15.9 million for training nursing home inspectors, to crack down on the nation's 100 worst facilities, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports. According to federal auditors, the White House has promised in the last year to strengthen monitoring and afford inspectors more training, with nearly one-fourth of nursing homes deficient in national quality standards. "We want to make sure that those [homes] are inspected more frequently," said Chris Jennings, Clinton's health policy adviser. The Clinton proposal would bring total funds for nursing care oversight to $70 million, an increase of nearly 30% from last year. The bulk of the money would go to state agencies responsible for inspecting nearly 16,700 nursing homes, which provide elderly care for about 1.6 million Americans. The earmarked funds would provide money for training inspectors who will document problem homes on a centralized computer network; provide money for surprise inspections to ensure that facility managers are not "hiding substandard practices"; and also strictly enforce and seek solutions for the 100 worst homes with the poorest compliance records. Facilities that violate national standards, or that are found to have abused or neglected residents, are subject to $10,000 fines and could have their Medicare or Medicaid payments suspended. The information would be distributed through handbooks, state organizations and public service announcements (Gullo, 1/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.