SEIU Healthcare Missouri applauds bill increasing accountability for long-term care facilities

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MISSOURI HOUSE MINORITY LEADER and candidate for governor Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) announced the legislation Feb. 23 surrounded by members of SEIU Healthcare Missouri outside the shuttered Northview Village Nursing home. – Labor Tribune photo

By TIM ROWDEN
Editor-in-Chief

St. Louis –  Missouri House Minority Leader and candidate for governor Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) has introduced a bill that would establish regulations and requirements for long-term care facilities across Missouri.

Quade announced the measure, House Bill 2470, on Feb. 23 surrounded by SEIU Healthcare Missouri members outside the shuttered Northview Village Nursing Home. The home shut down without notice in December, scattering 175 residents to other care centers across the region and leaving 184 employees without a paycheck less than two weeks before Christmas.

“This is a tragic reminder of what can happen when facilities are allowed to go understaffed and without proper oversight,” Quade said. “Missourians deserve to know that their family is cared for and those responsible for that care are trained, staffed properly and will be held responsible.”

Quade said the bill will fundamentally change the way nursing facilities are licensed, closing a loophole that allows bad actors to continue to acquire Missouri facilities without going through proper licensure approval, and increase transparency of who actually owns and operates the facilities.

“For too long, owners have cut staffing hours to save money at the expense of the health and safety of its residents,” she said. “This legislation establishes minimum staffing requirements and increased scrutiny and penalties for those owners who refuse to abide by those requirements.

“At its essence, it is about taking the steps necessary to end the crisis facing so many Missouri families, who need to be able to trust nursing facilities with their loved ones’ health and well-being. And it’s about holding those who refuse to do better accountable for putting profit over its patients.”

Key provisions of the bill include the requirement for new nursing home owners to obtain a certificate and have direct oversight from the state committee overseeing healthcare development, ensuring services are provided and met.

Any facilities found operating without the necessary certificates, qualifications, or standards may be subject to legal actions.

The bill also addresses the need for adequate staffing ratios to keep residents and workers safe.

OPPORTUNISTIC BUSINESS OWNERS
SEIU Healthcare Missouri applauded the legislation.

“The nursing home industry has fallen victim to opportunistic business owners using the industry and residents as a source of revenue instead of providing quality, compassionate care,” said Lenny Jones, state director of SEIU Healthcare Missouri. “This bill would force new owners to be transparent about their business practices and put workers and residents first.”

For years, the union says, out-of-state corporations have purchased St. Louis-area nursing homes where they have prioritized their own profit instead of workers and residents, often routinely scheduling far fewer staff than are needed to provide care, providing inadequate training, cutting corners on health and safety, paying low wages, and regularly obstructing the rights of their workers.

“House Bill 2740 would not only support staff and residents in long-term care facilities, but hold greedy owners accountable for abhorrent actions as seen with the recent closure of Northview Village Nursing Home,” Jones said. “We are grateful for Representative Crystal Quade, and her unwavering support of nursing home workers and staff, for introducing this legislation. We encourage members of the Missouri House to work together in a bipartisan manner to ensure this provision passes into law.”


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