LaSata’s bill supporting long-term care facility residents approved by Senate

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata that would require long-term care facilities to allow the state’s Long Term Care Ombudsman entry into facilities even if they have visiting restrictions in place was approved by the Senate on Tuesday.

“Michigan’s Long Term Care Ombudsman serves to advocate for the thousands of vulnerable residents living in nursing homes and other facilities in our state,” said LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township. “Unfortunately, the past year revealed some disturbing situations in those facilities that went unchecked because of lockdown measures that hindered or prevented the ombudsman’s office from doing its job.”

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.

“My bill empowers our Long Term Care Ombudsman to better accomplish its job of resolving incidents at these facilities, regardless of any visitation restrictions,” LaSata said. “Nothing should stand in the way of people’s loved ones who are living in long-term care facilities from receiving the quality care they deserve.”

The bill, which is supported by the ombudsman, now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.