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AARP Opposes Critical Gaps for Nursing Homes in Current Legislation

long-term-care-illustration

AARP Ohio released written testimony, along with the following statement from State Director Holly Holtzen, PhD, on House Bill 606 and Senate Bill 308, companion legislation bills under consideration this week in the Ohio House of Representatives Civil Justice Committees and the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee:

“AARP is a longtime and tireless advocate for the rights and interests of residents in nursing homes and other residential care facilities. We believe it is our duty as a society to ensure the health, safety, quality of care, and quality of life for our most vulnerable persons. This includes the rights of residents and their families to seek legal redress through the courts in order to hold facilities accountable for harm suffered through neglect or abuse. As currently written House Bill 606 and Senate Bill 308 create critical gaps for the 71,894 nursing home residents in Ohio and their families that go beyond what is necessary to protect essential workers.

“While there may be some circumstances beyond facilities’ control and for which they should not be held liable, it is essential that long-term care providers, as well as health care providers more broadly, remain responsible for any and all negligent actions on their part, in order to ensure long-term care residents have protection and opportunity for redress. Ohio should not strip away the rights and protections of residents. Nursing homes and other LTC facilities should know they will continue to be held responsible for providing the level of quality care that is required of them, and for which they are being compensated.”

“Accountability can incentivize facilities to self-correct by addressing problems to improve care before such problems mature to the point of requiring legal remedy from residents and their families. No family member who has lost a loved one due to neglect or abuse pursues this course of action lightly. It is always an option of last resort, but it must remain an option.”

“We appreciate that the current legislation seeks to protect essential workers, however our opposition testimony includes recommended amendments from The Ohio Association of Justice, which would strengthen the bill and better protect nursing home residents, their families, and consumers. Families all across Ohio are looking to you to protect the health and safety of their loved ones living in nursing homes and other residential care facilities. On behalf of our 1.5 million members in Ohio we look forward to working toward a final legislative version that includes these improvements, and a strong, timely response from our elected officials to correct these serious gaps in protection.”

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