Wednesday, January 3, 2018
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care sent an email that emergency preparedness legislation was introduced at the end of 2017. According to the email the bill was introduced by Florida Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and Michigan Congressman Walberg. The bill, H.R. 4704, available here, is intended to incorporate the "emergency preparedness final rule for skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities as conditions of participation under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and for other purposes" into the U.S. Code. The bill would amend the Medicare and Medicaid statutes to require SNFs and NFs by requiring alternative energy sources (for example, generators and adequate fuel to power them) for 96 hours post-disaster. Sanctions for non-compliance are monetary penalties, including increased penalties if a resident dies as a result of the facility's non-compliance. The bill includes a loan provision and a prioritization plan.
In addition to this federal legislation, Florida is also going to take up the issue of making backup generators mandatory in its 2018legislation session.
The bill, H.R. 4704, the Nursing Home Comfortable Air Ready for Emergencies (CARE) Act, would:
Codify the federal Emergency Preparedness rule that went into effect November 15, 2017 for nursing homes.
Mandate that facilities have in place an alternate source of energy capable of powering heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems following a natural disaster for at least 96 hours.
Increase civil money penalties for facilities found out of compliance with CMS Requirements of Participation, including authorizing civil monetary penalties up to $100,000 for non-compliance resulting in a resident’s death.
Direct the Secretary of HHS to review facilities based on the Emergency Preparedness (EP) rule and publish the findings on the Nursing Home Compare website.
Create a loan fund for smaller facilities, or those serving more low-income residents, to come into compliance. Facilities must have a monthly rate of less than $6,000 for private rooms, or have fewer than 50 beds, to qualify.
Require states to prioritize nursing homes in the same manner as hospitals are prioritized in All-Hazards Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans, and to include in those plans information on how utilities plan to ensure that nursing homes return to functioning as soon as practicable following a disaster.