In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on nursing homes in the United States, uncovering serious flaws in a health care system that so many elderly Ohioans need. Poor infection control and overcrowding led to massive COVID-19 outbreaks. Exhaustive investigations into these issues led to exposing other offenses concerning abuse and neglect. One incident allegedly involved falsifying the COVID-19 test results of the residents.
Now, Ohio legislators intend to give $300 million to Ohio’s nursing home, no questions asked.
If you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect from a nursing home, reach out to the Cleveland nursing home abuse attorneys at Paulozzi LPA Injury Lawyers.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill, allocated Ohio to receive $5.8 billion over two years. Ohio spent the first year’s installment by paying back the federal government for the advance of unemployment payments and other investments like a water and sewer program and pediatric behavioral health care. An estimated $850 million remains.
Ohio’s House Bill 461 proposes a one-time payment of $300 million of these remaining monies to be divided among Ohio’s nearly 1,000 nursing homes, according to a formula specified in the bill.
The short title of this bill reads, “Provide federal covid funds to nursing facilities,” and the long title is just as vague, reading, “To provide for the distribution of some federal coronavirus relief funding to nursing facilities and to make an appropriation.”
Usually, legislation involving funding requires a verifiable return on investment to ensure funding is distributed responsibly. What is not in the bill are provisions on how the money should or would have to be spent.
There are no detailed plans for improving the current condition of nursing homes. Also not included are guaranteed compliances with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements. Additional COVID testing and vaccinations of the staff and residents are not mentioned. No purchase requirements are listed for necessary protective equipment. There is no discussion of controlling the COVID-19 infection rate.
The bill looks to dump hundreds of millions of dollars into a health care industry that was wrought with controversy, ramped with abuse and neglect a year ago. According to recent CMS data, less than 60% of current health care personnel have completed COVID vaccinations. Ohio ranks third lowest in the U.S.
The opportunity to improve the quality of care for Ohio’s nursing home residents could be in the cards, or it could be lost by gambling on uncertain outcomes.
Every year, the average age of the population ticks upward. Currently, there are more than 16,000 nursing homes in America, and there will be more in the future. As the COVID pandemic shines a light on us all, exposing our weaknesses, it appears the harshest light blares over our most vulnerable communities—those populating nursing homes.
The Cleveland nursing home abuse attorneys at Paulozzi LPA Injury Lawyers are always ready to put our experience to work. We can step in, investigate your claim, and fight for what is right. Contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 888-710-0040.