Healthcare Reform: Helping Our Senior Citizens

Healthcare reform is set up to do wonderful things for the long term care industry.

Healthcare reform has been a hot issue for years. It’s obvious that our healthcare system, nursing homes, and long term care facilities are in dire need of help, but figuring out exactly how to provide that help has proven difficult for lots of reasons. But on March 30th, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the final healthcare legislation approved by the senate, wrapping up his momentous effort to enact healthcare reform.
The Legislation was called “The Healthcare and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.” The Act is going to change healthcare, and more importantly, nursing home and assisted living facility care, as we know it. Some changes will not be immediate, but change is coming.

What Do These “Changes” Mean?

Many families are wondering what those changes will mean for our senior citizens; especially for those who may need to enter a nursing home and/or long term care facility. At least one nursing home advocate has strongly supported this measure. That supporter is Cheryl Phillips, MD, president of the American Geriatrics Society. Ms. Phillips is excited about what healthcare reform means for our elderly citizens, saying:

All told, healthcare reform includes numerous, important provisions that will improve elder healthcare now and in the future, and support geriatrics careers. The AGS has long advocated for these provisions.

There is a substantial list of changes coming to nursing homes and long-term care facilities after the enactment of healthcare reform. Some of those changes include:

Long Term Care Insurance – Under the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS), all Americans will be automatically enrolled in a long term care insurance program. This insurance can be used by seniors who need to be placed into an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Citizens will have the ability to opt out of the program. If they choose to stay enrolled in the program, citizens will start paying a premium immediately and will be able to benefit from the program after contributing for 5 years. The yield is expected to be about $50.00 a day.

• Patients will immediately begin receiving rebates for prescription drug costs that fall into the Medicare Part D gap. Overtime, the gap will be phased out entirely.

• Drug manufacturers will be forced to provide discounts on brand name drugs.

Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act – this nursing home and assisted living facility act will require that nursing homes provide consumers with plentiful and up-to-date information about the quality of care nursing homes provide. These standards will address the prevention of bed sores and pressure ulcers in nursing homes; address fall protection to prevent injuries from falls; and provide seniors in nursing homes with quality of life standards. This is a massive weapon in the fight against sub-par care standards in nursing homes and long term care facilities. The AARP has called this bill “one of the most significant nursing home reform initiatives in two decades.”

Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act – this will create a national system of background checks, to prevent nursing home employees with criminal backgrounds from working in the long term care setting. This Act is designed to protect nursing home abuse, physical assault and sexual assaults by staff members.

This is just a brief list of the many changes headed for nursing home and assisted living facility care. Advocates of nursing home care reform are thrilled by the imminent changes, looking forward to an increased quality of care and decreased instances of nursing home negligence and nursing home abuse. These healthcare changes will hopefully do wonderful things to prevent nursing home abuse so our senior citizens can get the care they deserve.

Has Nursing Home Abuse or Negligence Affected You?

If you or a loved one has suffered the effects of nursing home negligence or abuse, the attorneys at Mininno Law Office are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free case evaluation, or call for a free consultation at 856-833-0600 in New Jersey or 215-567-2380 in Philadelphia.

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