(HARRISBURG) – The Senate Health & Human Services Committee and the Aging & Youth Committee today held a joint hearing to examine new regulations for long-term care nursing facilities being proposed by the Wolf Administration.
The committees brought together the Department of Health as well as industry experts and other stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed regulations, which the administration says is the first in a five-part package of proposed changes that will be combined to create a final, comprehensive regulatory package.
Senator Michele Brooks (R-50), chair of the Health & Human Services Committee
“The goal today is to allow for an open discussion about these proposals. We all appreciate how much our nursing facilities and their staff, nurses and especially the residents and families have been through in the last 18 months plus. The number of stressors, angst and unknowns for these facilities has truly been unimaginable.
“This is the time when we should be breaking through the red tape and reducing bureaucratic mandates, not adding to them. Streamlining processes and reporting will lesson paperwork and increase the time spent on direct care.
“The administration needs to focus on workforce-development strategies to allow the industry to have access to employees needed to continue to provide the wonderful care our loved ones deserve.”
Senator Judy Ward (R-30), chair of the Aging & Youth Committee
“The regulations for long-term care nursing facilities have not been updated since 1999. While there is certainly a need to modernize these regulations, it is critically important that the revisions be reasonable and responsible so that they do not have any unintended consequences on some of our most vulnerable residents.
“Our long-term care facilities are facing significant issues, from dealing with COVID-19 to facing a workforce crisis. As a nurse, I fully understand the challenges of providing direct care to patients and the need to provide both quality care and a quality of life for residents. That said, I have real concerns with the proposed regulations
“Implementation of any proposed regulation needs to be based on real world circumstances and it needs to fully involve the long-term care industry, those on the frontline.”
The state Department of Health published the proposed new regulations in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on July 31, 2021 and has until August 2023 to finalize the regulations. The following stakeholders offered testimony and answered questions from committee members during the hearing:
Acting Secretary Alison Beam, Pennsylvania Department of Health
Zach Shamberg, President and CEO, Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) – Testimony
Adam Marles, President and CEO, LeadingAge PA – Testimony
Chase Cannon, Executive Director, PA Coalition of Affiliated Healthcare & Living Communities (PACAH) – Testimony
Matt Yarnell, President, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania – Testimony
Diane Menio, Executive Director, Center for Advocacy for the Rights & Interests of the Elderly (CARIE) – Testimony
Teresa Osborne, Advocacy and Outreach Manager, AARP Pennsylvania – Testimony
CONTACT: Diane McNaughton (Brooks)
Cheryl Schriner (Ward)