Shusterman celebrates passage of H.B. 1853

Legislation would improve communication between Department of Health and Nursing Homes

HARRISBURG, April 15 – State Reps. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester, and Kristin Marcell, R-Bucks, are celebrating today’s passage of H.B. 1853 with a bipartisan vote of 125-76.

Specifically, H.B. 1853 would require that the Department of Health’s nursing care field officers hold annual meetings with staff at the licensed nursing facilities under their jurisdiction. The goal of these meetings is to discuss and share information on survey results, patterns, trends, and best practices to improve quality care across the commonwealth’s nursing care facilities.

“We’re always looking to improve the lives of seniors in Pennsylvania,” Shusterman said. “By encouraging communication between the Department of Health and nursing home staff, we hope that the exchange of ideas and information between these two groups will lead to a unified effort to provide the best senior care possible. I want to thank my colleagues for their support of this legislation, including my fellow state Representative Kristin Marcell for her co-sponsorship and effort in delivering this legislation.”

"I am pleased to see the passage of House Bill 1853, because we are helping to foster collaboration between the Department of Health and our nursing homes," Marcell said. "This collaboration is more than a bureaucratic formality; it is the cornerstone of the public health infrastructure we’ve put in place to protect the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. Through today’s action, we are helping to support a more transparent, effective relationship that puts the well-being of over 60,000 Pennsylvania residents first."

“It will take collaboration among all of us –– providers, regulators, key stakeholders, and family members –– to ensure the care of Pennsylvania’s older loved ones and neighbors is available and meets the standards we should expect,” said Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. “House Bill 1853 will strengthen that collaboration by bringing Department of Health surveyors and providers together to enhance care outcomes. This legislation is another important step forward as we continue to prioritize the care of our state’s elderly and adults with disabilities.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.