Jefferson City, MO – Missouri lawmakers have sent Governor Bob Holden a measure aimed at making state's nursing homes safer.
The proposal relaxes inspection requirements for good nursing homes, but strengthens the state's authority to penalize those with poor care.
The Senate gave final passage to the plan Wednesday. Holden said he expects to sign it.
Similar legislation has died the past three sessions. But this year the issue was a priority for the two chambers' Republican leadership. Both parties worked together with members of the Holden administration to get an acceptable version.
The measure includes an automatic fine of $10,000 a day for conditions that put the lives of nursing home residents in danger.
Under current law, homes can avoid fines by filing a correction plan by the time they are reinspected.
Here are some more details of the legislation sent to the governor Wednesday revising Missouri's nursing home laws:
* Raises maximum fines for violations from the current cap of $10,000 to $25,000.
* Strengthens enforcement of fines for the most serious violations.
* Directs that money from fines will be used to pay for elderly home meal service and for state programs designed to improve nursing home care.
* Reduces frequency of inspections for nursing homes with good performance records.
* Allows the state to consider the compliance record of out-of-state providers seeking a nursing home license in Missouri.
* Protects workers who report cases of elderly abuse and neglect with new whistle-blower provisions.
* Requires national background checks for nursing home job applicants if they have not lived in Missouri during the previous five years.
* Provides for nursing homes to have licenses revoked if they deny the state access to residents and records.