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    On December 15, 2011, Senator Goeff Hansen introduced Bill 884 to the Michigan Senate. Bill 884 aims to improve nursing home facilities by reforming the methods in which they are regulated. Thomas Meyer, an administrator for the Iosco County Medical Care Facility, says that the current survey system is, "Inefficient and outdated." One issue critics have with the current system is the untimely and inconsistent revisits by survey teams resulting in incomplete survey cycles. When survey cycles add up, enforcement actions such as financial penalties add up as well. This results not only in a loss of revenue but also a degradation of the reputation of the nursing care facility. .


    Supporters of SB 884 say the bill will improve regulatory methods is by the implementation of an electronic system to help coordinate nursing home surveys. This will help make the surveying process more efficient and faster. Bill 884 will also require a registered nurse to be a part of each survey team as well as require other members of the team to be from various healthcare backgrounds. In addition, SB 884 will require a criminal background check for all members of a survey team. As an incentive for nursing care facilities, SB 884 will allow facilities that have received no ratings at or under level D to apply for a grant up to $5,000 for quality improvement programs.


    Greg Wilson, a licensed nursing home administrator, is among numerous others who support this bill. He says, "[SB 884] serves as a great step in the right direction in improving both internal and external communications between the legislature, the regulator and the skilled nursing facility provider." Bill 884 has been virtually unopposed and passed through the senate with a unanimous vote on May 8, 2012. The Bill is currently awaiting approval in the house. It has been reported that the bill is likely to pass with only a small amount of changes.

     

    The fiscal impact of the bill is estimated to be negative due to the additional costs of criminal checks, having registered nurses on survey teams, and the development of an electronic coordination system. Overall, this bill intends to make the regulation of nursing home facilities easier and much more efficient. Advocates of SB 884 say it will ultimately help improve the conditions of nursing home facilities state wide as well as help lower the cost of medical care facilities.

     

    Wilson, Greg. "Testimony Before the House Committee On Families, Children and Seniors". http://house.mi.gov/sessiondocs/2011-2012/testimony/Committee8-5-29-2012.pdf

    Meyer, Thomas. "Michigan State House of Representatives Families, Children, and Seniors Committee". http://house.mi.gov/sessiondocs/2011-2012/testimony/Committee8-5-29-2012-1.pdf

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    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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