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Legislation introduced to require round-the-clock RN in nursing homes

Legislation HR 952, commonly known as the “Put an RN in the Nursing Home Act, was introduced to the 114th session of Congress on February 12, 2015. This legislation is being sponsored by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and has numerous co-sponsors from various states across the nation. The next stop for this legislation is committee and with strong bi-partisan support may well change the way that skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes currently staff.
This legislation would amend the current titles XVIII (Medicare) and XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act regarding professional nursing services coverage in skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes. Currently these titles only require a professional registered nurse to be on duty eight hours per day. The new legislation would require at least one RN on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These RN’s must be able to provide assessment, surveillance, and direct care to the residents. This bill would include all nursing home and skilled nursing home facilities regardless of the size and patient population.
The “Put an RN in the Nursing Home Act” was introduced to Congress just prior to another major step toward changes in Nursing Home Care. On February 20, 2015 an announcement by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stated that they were changing and improving their current Five Star rating system for nursing homes. It is the hope of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that revamping the Five Star rating system will improve accuracy and reliability of the rating system.
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