• Nancy Griffin

Congresswoman Introduces IMPROVE Nursing Homes Act

Jan Schakowsky Introduces Legislation to Provide Funding for Resident-Centered Nursing Homes


Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a Senior Chief Deputy Whip, Chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Co-Chair of the House Democratic Task Force on Aging and Families, introduced the Infrastructure Modernization Project Related to the Overall Enhancement of Nursing Homes Act (IMPROVE Nursing Homes Act). This legislation would create a grant program to convert traditional nursing homes into small-house nursing homes with person-centered cultures. Research shows that small-house nursing homes and similar models provide residents with a better quality of life, lead to fewer hospital rehospitalizations, and reduce Medicare spending.

“In the United States, the richest country in the world, everyone should have access to quality care, not just the privileged few who can afford luxury nursing home accommodations,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “The right to dignity and safety should not end when a family can no longer take care of a loved one. The IMPROVE Nursing Homes Act will help change the culture and structure of nursing homes by dispensing funds to convert existing nursing homes into small-house nursing homes, which provide single-occupancy rooms and private bathrooms. Person-centered care provides residents dignified, quality care and living.”

Grant applicants would be required to demonstrate financial need prior to being awarded the funds. Furthermore, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to assess financial need based on a certain set of criteria, including the ability of the nursing home’s parent company to provide funds for remodeling, themselves.

Approved grantees would be required to:

  • Use the funding to convert existing nursing homes into small-house nursing homes that provide each resident with a single-occupancy room and private bathroom, in addition to other requirements;

  • Consult with residents, families, long-term care ombudsmen, direct care nursing home workers, and a certified medical director on the planning and design of the small-house nursing home;

  • Demonstrate and maintain high levels of person-centered care and practices;

  • Comply with Davis Bacon labor requirements; and,

  • Operate the small-house nursing home for a minimum of 20 years

The IMPROVE Nursing Homes Act would ensure that at least 50% of grant funding goes to nursing homes where 85% or more of residents pay for care via Medicaid. This provision helps address the socioeconomic gap that excludes so many low-income seniors from quality care.

The IMPROVE Nursing Homes Act is endorsed by the Long-Term Care Community Coalition, the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, Justice in Aging, and the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

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