Legislature approves regulatory reform of nursing homes across Michigan

LANSING — Nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities across the state would operate in a fairer and more consistent regulatory environment under a measure approved by the Legislature, said bill sponsor Sen. Goeff Hansen.

Senate Bill 884 was approved by the Michigan House of Representatives and concurred in by the Senate on Thursday. The measure will now go to the governor’s desk for his signature.

“The central theme of this reform legislation is ensuring the health, safety and welfare of our most vulnerable citizens, who reside in nursing homes,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “My measure speaks directly to Governor Snyder’s call for regulatory reform and reinventing Michigan. Our most vulnerable Michigan residents deserve a state government focused on being more consumer- and customer-friendly and accountable to the people they serve.”

According to Hansen, performance of the Bureau of Health Systems (which regulates nursing facilities) in Michigan has consistently been an anomaly, as compared with other states across the nation.

Hansen’s measure would help improve the current state survey/enforcement process; provide an opportunity to reduce unnecessary, duplicative and inefficient processes, which will save the state time, staff and money; and protect the safety and care of nursing home residents.

SB 884 would require greater collaboration on joint provider and surveyor training sessions; require the nursing home survey process to be effectively and efficiently coordinated; and create more efficiency in the survey scheduling process while maintaining all federal requirements.

Hansen said the changes would maintain a robust process of regulatory oversight and would continue to protect our most vulnerable citizens who reside in Michigan’s 427 nursing and rehabilitation facilities. The goal of the legislation is to promote fairness, accuracy and timeliness in the survey process.

“My focus was to hold the State Survey Agency to a higher standard, and Senate Bill 884 builds a solid foundation toward codifying these important reforms on behalf of Michigan’s senior citizens,” Hansen said.