LaSata bill supporting ombudsman investigations at long-term care facilities advances

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee on Thursday unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata that would require long-term care facilities to allow the state’s Long Term Care Ombudsman to conduct investigations even if facilities have visiting restrictions in place.

“Nothing — not even a global pandemic — should stand in the way of ensuring vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities receive the quality care they deserve,” said LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township. “This past year revealed some disturbing situations in our nursing homes that went unchecked. We need to pass this bill so the Long Term Care Ombudsman can better do their job to resolve incidents regardless of any visitation restrictions. I thank my colleagues for their support and look forward to my bill becoming law soon.”

Senate Bill 213 would allow the ombudsman or a representative to enter a facility for an investigation without restriction if a facility’s visitor restriction lasts longer than seven days. For restrictions shorter than seven days, the facility would have to make a good faith effort to facilitate a virtual visit.

The bill would align Michigan law with federal regulations to allow the same access hours for the ombudsman and representatives and access to residents’ guardian contact information.

The bill now advances to the full Senate.