Wednesday, March 6, 2019

AHCA’s David Gifford Testifies in Front of Senate Finance Committee

Drew Thies

Today, David Gifford, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President of Quality at the American Health Care Association testified before the Senate Finance Committee to address concerns and instances of abuse and neglect in nursing centers.

The hearing, titled “Not Forgotten: Protecting Americans From Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes,” was called in response to two instances of abuse and neglect that happened to individuals in Iowa and Minnesota. The daughters of those individuals, Patricia Blank and Maya Fischer, also testified before the committee to tell their stories.

Gifford denounced abuse and neglect in nursing centers, saying they should never occur. “Families and residents like you and your mothers, who are often at their most vulnerable and in the most need of care and support, should never have to worry about their physical safety” he said during his opening remarks.

“AHCA remains committed to reducing any future cases of abuse and neglect.” Gifford said in a statement. “Since we voluntarily launched our Quality Initiative in 2012, we have seen tremendous improvements in the quality of care provided to nursing home residents. Care at our members’ nursing homes continues to improve and remain high for 18 of the 24 quality outcomes measured by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), including fewer residents receiving antipsychotic medications and more people returning home after rehabilitation care.

Gifford said that AHCA is offering solutions to help reduce instances of neglect and abuse. He said the main driver of quality is staffing and said incentives like a federal loan forgiveness program for nursing center staff. He also said that nursing centers should have access to a national background check registry and that resident and family satisfaction ratings of nursing homes should be publicly available.

“AHCA stands ready to work with Congress, members of the Senate Finance Committee, CMS, and other providers to keep residents safe and continue improving the quality of care provided,” he said in a statement.

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