Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, some states are proposing—and passing—reforms to address the issues prevalent in Maryland nursing homes and those across the country. New York state recently passed a law set to be signed into law that would require for-profit nursing homes to spend at least 70% of revenue on direct patient care. In addition, any profits over 5% would be given to the state. The law would direct 40% of a nursing home’s budget to be spent on staff who work directly with residents. A law professor commented that a state immunity law that was recently repealed had allowed homes to engage in practices that created “unreasonable risk to residents.” One family member whose husband, a Navy veteran, was a resident in a nursing home said that he had not been given a shower in weeks.
Maryland lawmakers have considered a reform bill that would impose additional requirements on out-of-state nursing home purchasers, along with other reform bills. The bill would require state inspections after owners from outside of Maryland purchase nursing homes in the state. The bill would require unannounced inspections three and six months after the purchases are made.
Nursing home residents in Maryland continue to be at risk for abuse and neglect by staff members, medical providers, and other residents. Abuse may be physical, sexual, emotional, or financial. Signs of abuse can vary but could include unsanitary living conditions, broken bones, unexplained injuries, a history of repeated injuries, fear of certain people, bedsores, missing property, and missing funds. Neglect can be more difficult to detect in some cases, but it could include a lack of mobility, poor personal hygiene, and psychological distress.