As frustration grows over how the nursing home industry has been regulated and cited during the pandemic, some lawmakers question why the fines and civil monetary penalties imposed do not appear to reflect the quality of care provided. .
In Michigan, for example, there appears to be little correlation between the number of citations received by nursing homes and quality outcomes that are trying to improve.
At least, that’s how Michigan State Rep. Bronna Kahle, Adrian, sees it, and why she introduced Bill 5609, which was referred to the health policy committee. of the House for consideration last week.
The law project seeks to establish clearer and more consistent standards for Michigan health care investigators going forward.
âWhy do we need this bill? Because we need to make sure that clear, concise and consistent standards are set and followed, when it comes to those state-employed health care experts who come to our nursing homes, âsaid Kahle at Skilled Nursing News.
Kahle would like to see a regulatory process that recognizes the difficulties and successes of individual providers and offers support and guidance throughout the pandemic, rather than simply creating more barriers through unfair regulatory practices.
Kahle referred to a 2020 report comparing citations to results in major metropolitan areas which showed how consistent the investigative and regulatory process has become.
âIn Michigan, we were cited at more than four times the national average for staffing ratios,â she explained. âThe point is, we are way above comparable national endowment ratios. “
Kahle said the bill is not intended to downplay the importance of oversight of skilled nursing facilities, but she wants to bring some consistency to the quotes for nursing homes across the state, which appear be an “outlier” in both frequency, scope and severity of citations. .
“Another example is that we want our establishments to reduce their use of psychotropic drugs,” she explained. Michigan is a leader in reducing the use of this drug in our skilled nursing facilities, yet more than a fifth, 21.8%, were cited for this, compared to the national average of 17.8%. “
These numbers show that citation patterns do not support the common goal of a quality outcome, according to Kahle.
âThese facilities have struggled and adapted and eventually became more nimble and innovative through the pandemic and it seems rather than the state acknowledging the struggles they went through … it seems the state, through the process regulation, gives a big stick which does not lead to a better result of the care â, she added.