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Legislature approves continuation of nursing home oversight committee
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Legislature approves continuation of nursing home oversight committee

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The Legislature gave approval Thursday to a resolution that would continue a special oversight committee for nursing homes. 

The resolution (LR104) would continue last year's state licensed care facilities oversight committee, created to investigate circumstances surrounding a veteran's death at the Life Quest facility in Palmer. It was not, however, the only facility experiencing problems at that time, said Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont, who introduced the resolution. 

Other nursing homes in the state face serious situations, she said. 

The committee studied the conditions at all licensed care facilities, she said, the treatment of people there and actions taken by the Department of Health and Human Services. 

"Much of the crises we are seeing stem from Medicaid reimbursement rates, but there are many more problems that the committee identified," she said.

Those problems included inadequate HHS inspection staff, black mold in the living areas of some facilities, and some residents with no access to fire escapes.

"Rural Nebraska needs these facilities if we want small towns to survive," Walz said, "because they are often the largest employer in a town. But this is also an issue for the entire state." 

The Executive Board amended the resolution to make it an oversight rather than investigative committee and removed the ability for it to issue subpoenas. 

The resolution was adopted on a 42-0 vote.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSLegislature.

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