Two years after a major reform of the nursing home industry passed into state law, Georgia lawmakers have revived the debate.
Proponents say flexibility is needed
Unemployment is down, and many employers are facing staffing shortages. The nursing home industry is no exception. One Georgia lawmaker has proposed a new bill that he says would give the industry more flexibility for staffing amid a statewide shortage of nurses and other nursing home aides. According to the lawmaker, this new flexibility would make life better for residents of nursing homes.
However, advocates for nursing home residents say they oppose the new measure. They say the proposed bill would weaken a major reform bill that was passed in 2020 in an effort to improve nursing home care.
The new proposal was introduced to the state legislature by state Rep. John LaHood of Valdosta, who says it is needed in order to allow Georgia’s nursing homes to provide quality care. He claims that the changes will not affect safety standards. Valdosta, who is president of a company that operates nursing homes in the state, was a sponsor of the 2020 bill that became law.
Opponents of his new proposal say it will undo the work accomplished in 2020, and that safety standards should not be subject to change based on temporary economic factors.
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