Board for nursing-home administrators wants a law to let it issue secret admonitions; bill is in jeopardy

A bill that was introduced late and got a fast start, but has hit speed bumps and maybe a roadblock, would allow the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Nursing Home Administrators to admonish them in secret without the action being “considered a disciplinary action against the licensee.”

The chairman of the board committee that recommended the bill said the alternative already exists, though not in law, and “would only be used for situations that were not serious enough to warrant action against an administrator’s license,” reports Valarie Honeycutt Spears of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

House Bill 414, which would make several other changes, was introduced Feb. 9 by Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville. On Feb. 14, he posted the bill for consideration by the Health and Welfare Committee, which he chairs, and got the House to waive the rule that bills be posted for three days before being considered. The next day, the committee approved the bill 14-0 and put it on the consent calendar, which is used to pass non-controverial bills without debate. It was posted for passage Feb. 18, but was removed from the consent calendar that day and has languished on the regular calendar since.

On. Feb. 22, Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, filed an amendment to the bill that could doom it. His is one of several measures that would require abortion clinics to give women face-to-face counseling and offer them an opportunity to see an ultrasound image of their unborn child. Because of that, “Burch said this week he did not think the bill would continue to move,” Sepears reports. However, the contents of the bill could be revived as an amendment to another one.

Spears, who has done much reporting about problems in nursing homes, notes that the board minutes from Februrary 2010 referred to 29 complaints, one was from 2006 and the rest were from 2007 through 2010. Among the cases was a nursing home administrator who did not contact authorities when aides abused a resident, an administrator criminally charged with stealing prescription drugs and an administrator sentenced to 10 years in prison for theft and exploiting an adult. The bill does not specify what kind of infractions would result in private criticisms.” (Read more)

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