October 29,2002

Grassley Receives Award for Work to Improve Nursing Homes

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, has
received an award for “those whose outstanding efforts in public policy have improved the care of
nursing home residents.” The award came from the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home
Reform, one of the nation’s most prominent nursing home resident advocacy groups.

“This is an honor,” Grassley said. “The National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home
Reform is always fighting to improve the lives of nursing home residents. I’m grateful to work with
this group on one of our most important causes as a society.”

On Monday, Grassley received the group’s first-ever National Leadership Award. He was
the only senator to receive the award. In giving Grassley the award, the group said:

A long list of accomplishments resulted in your selection for this award. As
the organization that led the campaign to pass the Nursing Home Reform Act of
1987, NCCNHR will remain forever grateful for your determination to ensure that
the law is enforced. Successive Administrations had failed to implement the
enforcement requirements until 1998, when you began a series of hearings to
examine the Administration’s enforcement record and to publicize widespread
neglect in nursing homes. Similarly, it was through your efforts that the longoverdue
government study of nurse staffing ratios was completed and delivered to
Congress this year and that legislation was introduced to ensure accurate public
reporting of nurse staffing levels. Your ongoing oversight of the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services in both Democratic and Republican administrations
has served as a warning to those who would weaken the regulatory system, and your
scrutiny of nursing home spending has tempered industry demands for increased
federal funding without accountability for how it is spent.

Grassley’s nursing home work continues. Earlier this month, Grassley and Sen. Max Baucus
introduced the Beneficiary Access to Care and Medicare Equity Act of 2002, which includes
increased funding for nursing homes while requiring more accountability from nursing homes about
staffing levels. The accountability measure is from a freestanding bill Grassley and two other
senators introduced earlier this year.

Grassley has asked the General Accounting Office to review whether a pilot project to collect
nursing home quality data is successful as is or whether it should be reformed, a key study before
the pilot project is to be expanded nationwide this fall. He and another senator also are working to
make sure the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services clarifies draft guidelines that could lead
to greater use of anti-psychotic medications that act as chemical restraints in nursing homes. Also,
each year, Grassley monitors annual appropriations for nursing home inspections and enforcement
to ensure adequate funding levels.

“A lot of people working together have made progress in improving nursing home conditions,
but not enough,” Grassley said. “Many nursing home residents receive perfectly fine care. But as
long as any residents go hungry, or develop painful bed sores, or are beaten by staff, no one who’s
in a position to change nursing home conditions can rest.”