Advocates Celebrate Passage of Landmark Nursing Home Improvement Bill

OKLAHOMA CITY – A broad-based coalition of Oklahoma’s advocates for older Oklahomans today praised the State Legislature for passage of Senate Bill 280, the Nursing Home Quality Assurance Initiative. The bill passed in both the State House and Senate today and now heads to Governor Kevin Stitt for his signature.

The bill establishes a new system of required quality-improvements at nursing facilities that will be regularly updated to ensure quality care. The measure ties funding directly to defined quality improvement benchmarks, and provides vital funding for increased direct care staffing requirements.

The coalition in support of the bill includes the Oklahoma chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, AARP Oklahoma, Care Providers Oklahoma, LeadingAge Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Alliance on Aging, the Oklahoma Nurses Association, the Oklahoma Silver-Haired Legislature Alumni Association, the Oklahoma State Council on Aging, and the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Their joint statement reads:

“We applaud our legislators for delivering a landmark reform, quality improvement and funding package that will dramatically increase the quality-of-care and quality-of-life for residents in Oklahoma’s nursing homes. This is a tremendous victory for the elderly, for Oklahomans with disabilities and for their families.”

The coalition offered special recognition to House Speaker Charles McCall, Rep. Kevin Wallace, Rep. Marcus McEntire, Sen. Roger Thompson, and Sen. Frank Simpson, for sponsoring the legislation creating the Nursing Home Quality Assurance Initiative.

The Nursing Home Quality Assurance Initiative will: 

  • Incentivize improvements to care by establishing a pay-for-performance initiative based on four quality measures: improving outcomes and rankings focused on pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections, use of antipsychotic medications, and weight loss among nursing home residents;

  • Increase direct care staffing by improving the staff to resident ratio by 20 percent to enhance resident care and reduce staff turnover;  

  • Improve resident’s quality of life by increasing the Personal Needs Allowance from $50 per month to $75 per month;

  • Improve the safety and well-being of residents by increasing needed mandatory Alzheimer’s/Dementia training for all clinical staff to a minimum of 4 hours every year;

  • Increase resident protection and advocacy with five additional Ombudsmen; and

  • Maintain language that ensures provider accountability and transparency for any new funds to encourage provider investment in direct care staffing, employee benefits and training, all of which will reduce staff turnover.