The Senate Finance Committee is planning to hold a hearing on nursing home abuse next week, aiming to increase pressure on the industry to address safety issues.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) — chairman of the committee and a longtime nursing home watchdog — announced the planned hearing Wednesday. Witnesses at the March 6 meeting will include Antoinette Bacon, national elder justice coordinator with the Department of Justice, and Kate Goodrich, M.D., chief medical officer of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Patricia Blank — the daughter of an Iowa nursing home resident who allegedly died from dehydration and neglect in 2017 — also will testify. Nursing home advocates will be closely watching testimony Wednesday, March 6, which is scheduled to start at 10:15 a.m. Eastern Time. A broadcast of the event can be live-streamed here.
Politico reported Thursday that the Grassley was “horrified” by recent reports that a mentally incapacitated woman was raped and impregnated by a worker at a Phoenix nursing facility. The senior senator has expressed concerns previously that nursing homes are being allowed to remain in CMS programs, even after allegedly putting patients at risk, and wants the agency to more aggressively monitor the field, Politico noted. In outlining his Finance Committee agenda to Congress in January, Grassley said nursing home oversight will be a key focus.
“These outcomes are unacceptable,” Grassley wrote in a letter to CMS last fall, referencing the death of 87-year-old Timely Mission resident Virginia Olthoff, which earned the facility a $77,000 fine from the feds. “I remain concerned about CMS’ efforts to ensure quality nursing home care to our most vulnerable citizens.”