Green House Blog

Casey, Schumer, Enzi and Wicker Introduce Bipartisan Bill Help Older Americans Access Care Close to Family and Friends

REPRINTED from Senator Robert P. Casey’s Website
Friday, December 16, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) today introduced legislation to help small house nursing homes more easily locate in small towns and rural communities, helping older Americans receive advanced care while remaining close to their friends, families and hometowns.

“At a time when older American’s need the love and support of family members the most, they should not be forced to relocate away from their support network in order to access the compassionate care provided by a small house nursing home,” said Senator Casey. “My legislation will remove barriers preventing small house nursing homes from being located in small towns and rural areas where access to care is currently scarce.”

“This bipartisan bill is just what families and older Americans need – the ability to receive high-quality care in a nurturing setting,” said Senator Schumer. “These smaller nursing homes will provide focused personal care in a comfortable setting for our country’s elderly citizens, all while allowing them to live a stone’s throw away from family and friends.”

“It is important to help seniors stay in their communities as they age to ensure they receive the highest quality of care, especially in rural communities,” said Senator Enzi. “This bill will help address some of the challenges that affect seniors and those who need long-term care by offering a better coordinated, community-oriented option for nursing care. This streamlined system of support and services will allow seniors to continue to receive advanced care while staying close to their family and friends.”

“Mississippi has been a leader in developing small nursing home models,” said Senator Wicker. “The small nursing home model has proven to be a success by allowing older persons to remain in their communities while receiving proper care. This legislation would help expand access to this worthwhile program.”

Residents of rural communities frequently have to relocate away from family and friends to access care in large nursing homes because federal rules do not currently allow small house nursing homes to be licensed together when they are not on a single campus. This prevents small house nursing homes from being located near smaller population centers and rural areas, where demand does not necessitate a nursing home large enough to be financially viable.

The Community Integrated Nursing Care Homes (CINCH) Demonstration Program Act of 2011 would test the financial and operational aspects required to break down large nursing homes into small house nursing homes by allowing small house nursing homes to be licensed together. While each home will meet or exceed federal and state standards for staffing, care and emergency services, certain services that can be safely delivered by staff traveling between homes to increase efficiency will be reconfigured to make the separate entities financially viable.

The CINCH Act would authorize 6 organizations to implement a small nursing home model. These organizations will submit a report to Congress to evaluate the programs and determine if expansion is appropriate.