Rep. Bronna Kahle introduces bill to update nursing home inspection standards – The Daily Telegram

LANSING — State Rep. Bronna Kahle has introduced a plan meant to improve the quality of care for people living in nursing homes by establishing clear and consistent standards for Michigan health care surveyors.

The legislation, House Bill 5609, would improve the state’s regulatory process to ensure Michigan nursing home care providers are evaluated and regulated in a fair, accurate and timely manner and with the same equality as those in other states, a news release from Kahle’s office said. 

Kahle, R-Adrian, said the current regulatory environment is impeding health providers from continuing to provide quality care and support their communities. 

“Through actions, comments, failure to follow established survey processes and protocols, and inconsistent regulation enforcement, Michigan surveyors are creating public policy from the ground upwards, which is putting providers into unsustainable economic situations,” Kahle, former director of the Adrian Senior Center, said in the release. “Allowing these practices to continue will result in facility closures, with far reaching implications for the residents and communities they serve.” 

Michigan is an outlier in both the frequency, scope and severity of citations, despite the state’s level of quality in its nursing homes being at or above the care provided in other states, the release said. 

Nursing facilities have struggled, adapted and ultimately become more agile and innovative through the trials and tribulations of the pandemic, the release said. Rather than recognizing the struggles and successes of individual providers, or offering support and guidance through the pandemic, the regulatory process in Michigan has added more hurdles by way of unfair regulation practices. 

“We must ensure those who provide care for our most vulnerable individuals are evaluated and regulated in a fair, accurate and timely manner,” Kahle said. “The dedicated individuals working in our skilled nursing facilities across Michigan need to be able to provide the absolute best care and support to our seniors, patients and their families.” 

The Health Care Association of Michigan, which represents long-term care providers in Michigan, supports the bill. 

“Michigan’s regulatory process should be reviewed with an eye to adherence to the guidelines by providers and adherence to a consistent and timely process by state regulators,” Melissa Samuel, HCAM’s president and CEO, said in an email. “Compliance with the myriad of state and federal regulations is the framework we operate under, but with the expectation that the survey process will be fair and balanced as well. HB 5609 updates that process and brings surety through several provisions, including a Quality Improvement Officer to ensure the process is followed appropriately. These improvements will benefit both residents and staff.” 

Kahle’s plan was referred to the House Health Policy Committee for consideration.