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initiated in this country. That, we sincerely believe, is not asking too much.
In its declaration of policy this bill states: It is the conviction of the Congress that there is a serious need throughout the country for a greater number of hospitals and related medical relief and services than now exist or are being planned under existing programs.
Whether we find ourselves in total or partial agreement on this point we do want to point out that such need may well be local in nature and that it is a fact that some parts of the country are quite well provided for through existing proprietary nursing home facilities. No one will deny that in some areas there are insufficient beds, and other areas there are vacancies. But it distinctly understood, however, that it can be readily proven that in those areas where the shortage does not exist that the explanation can be found in the fact that the proprietary nursing homes have provided the facilities.
Our cooperation we now offer in an extended form. Just as we have cooperated with governmental, hospital, and welfare agencies, so now are we prepared to cooperate with any medical group plan which may choose to make use of our facilities. The public stands in constantly increasing need of nursing care. If this need is to be met it is obvious that proprietary nursing homes, the organization best suited to provide this care, should most certainly be included in the planning
There is one more item which was not at all brought out in previous testimony on bill H. R. 7341 which bears directly on our contention that the proprietary nursing home has a legitimate, esteemed place in the medical care team in this
country. Psychologists, social workers, and people in general who are interested in the humane aspects of patient care—and on this point we are certain we will have the backing of Secretary Oveta Culp Hobbywill agree that the primary concern in any medical care program is the patient. Having agreed on that can anyone with proper conscience maintain that institutional atmosphere is preferable to the type of homelike, friendly, loving-care atmosphere which is provided in the proprietary type of nursing homes?
Many of these patients come from institutions where they have spent months and years. They come into surroundings which are maintained to provide them once again with a feeling of home and friends and not wards and crisp, impersonal uniforms.
Proprietary nursing homes offer many advantages over institutionalized, large, cold buildings. Nursing homes are located near the patient's relatives and friends. The patients are given new family within the home and, above all, they are given an opportunity to retain the small vestige of pride and self-respect which is left to them in their remaining years.
Is there really a need for the creation of new institutions when the simple expedient of a mortgage insurance plan can make it possible for those who have the best know-how to do the job expeditiously, efficiently, and economically?
One final point that we want to make in addition to what we have already said. We wish to quote from the testimony of the hearing before your committee on H. R. 7341, held on February 4 and 5, 1954, where, on page 108, your honorable chairman, Charles A. Wolverton, stated :
Certainly, there is no intention to preclude your organization and the homes that it represents from having the help that is contemplated under H. R. 7700, and if it has not been drawn specifically enough to make it certain that you would have that, I would, as the introducer of that bill, have no objection to amending it in that particular, although at this moment I do not think it will need that amendment. I wish to assure you that the intention is to assist in the operations such as you are representing here this morning.
Mr. Clerk, will you give several copies of H. R. 7700 to Mr. Muse and, too, the statement in connection with it that I issued, so that he may be assured of what I am saying.
We feel certain that the chairman, Mr. Wolverton, meant what he said, and it is on that score that we request that this patent omission in the bill as it is presently written be corrected. We, therefore, ask your honorable body to make the necessary insertions, changes, and clarifications so as to include the proprietary nursing homes in the provisions of H. R. 7700. We note that such insertions, changes, and clarifications would be in order in the following sections:
(a) Declaration of policy and purposes, section 701.
(d) And in any other portions of the bill necessary to effectuate the changes requested.
We are most grateful for the courtesy you have extended and for the opportunity you have given us to express our thoughts on this particular legislation. We are encouraged by the knowlcdge that legislation regarding this very important segment of the medical field is being given such thorough and intelligent consideration.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions, gentlemen?
Mr. HESELTON. Do the nursing homes now, generally speaking, have difficulty obtaining financing ?
Miss SIEGAL. I beg your pardon.
Mr. RICKLER. May I identify myself for the record as being Arnold H. Rickler, and I am legal counsel for the National Nursing Home Association.
The CHAIRMAN. Where is your office!
The reason we have difficulty is because it is a one-purpose institution. You have probably had experiences in your own communities where hospitals have had the same experience. Lending institutions do not loan money generally; it is rather, may I say, the rare exception that they will loan the money rather than the general situation.
Mr. HESELTON. Is there a current need, so far as the nursing homes are concerned, for additional financing for expansion or any other purpose?
Mr. RICKLER. Yes; there is, to this extent: We have gone into the history of nursing homes. It is now coming to the age, it is our opinion, where it is and should be a modern hospital facility such as we want to operate. As you know, in most cases there were the old homes in the neighborhoods that were originally started. Now these various bills are before your body. In some States, may I say, the voluntary groups do take us in. In some States, Blue Shield does not. We feel that we want to qualify. We have been listening to the bills that have been before your body, and we realize and recognize the trend that is coming. We feel that we want to be able to improve our facilities to be included in health payment plans which we certainly cannot otherwise.
I am not here to make a statement; I would rather answer questions. But we feel that we can do the job. We have the personnel; we know the field; we know the pulse; we know the type of homes we operate. We, through our own efforts—and I speak particularly, of course, of my own State, New York State—have made every effort to raise the standards and encouraging legislation for safety protection and fire protection and boards of supervision, and welfare agencies on our own accord to help the standing of the profession, and I say that has gone on throughout the country since the organization of our national organization.
Mr. Heselton, I think in your State of Massachusetts, what we have tried to do there is the same thing.
Mr. HESELTON. Since you have referred to licensing, and because, in Miss Siegal's statement, she stated that the association consists of membership in 33 States, I take it that there is quite a variation in State regulation.
Mr. RICKLER. That is correct. There is a multitude of State regulations from one extreme to the other. And, of course, since it comes on the State level in most cases, we have our problems in the States.
And I might state to this body that we are actively, in each State, trying to get legislation. In your State, Mr. Chairman, New Jersey, they have a regulation for licensing and have had for a number of years. They have a supervising board. And may I say we have tried to adopt and follow the New Jersey State legislation in some measures, the same as in your State, Mr. Heselton, of Massachusetts, where the board was only created within the past few years, as I understand.
I have been associated more or less with nursing problems for the past 10 years. It is only in the last year or two that I have gotten out on the national level, and nationally we are trying to raise our standards.
Mr. HESELTON. What you have said today concerns the vital importance of nursing homes in the overall medical and health approach. I think you have made an interesting contribution today to the hearing, and I am sure that all of us agree with the chairman that your suggestions will receive very serious consideration.
Mr. RICKLER. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. I want to compliment Miss Siegal on this very fine statement, and I think that if this legislation is passed that we should include proprietary nursing homes. I hope that it will get in there before it gets out of this committee, if we report the bill.
Miss SIEGAL. Thank you.
Mr. PELLY. Miss Siegal, I would like to ask you if you do not think that if you could get long-term mortgage loans you could reduce actually the cost to your patients!
Miss SIEGAL. The cost of operation, yes.
Yes, of course, because there would be a more efficient operation with much the same personnel, much the same directorship. Most of these places can be a 50-bed institution rather than the present size, 25 bed, which, of course, would bring down the cost tremendously.
Mr. PELLY. I would like to ask you if this provision went into the bill to include proprietary nursing homes would it not be possible to construct facilities in localities where now there is no possibility of finding an old home, in some of the newer subdivisions and communities of that type ?
Mr. RICKLER. May I say that is the very thing we would like to encourage. As you know, we did not oppose the other bill. We feel that before public grants are made we can show that we can build private nursing homes in communities where none exist through private enterprise, and effect a having to the Government and to the State. We certainly feel we can do the job.
Mr. PELLY. I might say that since the hearing on H. R. 7341 I felt there was an implied promise that we would certainly give it consideration, and I am hopeful that it would be included. I studied the figures in our own State of Washington, and I was informed by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare that our State was doing a pretty good job. But in some localities we did not have adequate facilities, but in others we were up to what they considered the proper percentage of beds in proportion to population.
I think that this inclusion would certainly go a long way toward relieving the congestion on our actual hospital beds, so that people could be taken care of at a lower cost.
Mr. RICKLER. Much lower.
Mr. PELLY. It would help the States a great deal bacuse in many cases, of course, they cover the cost of the medically indigent.
Mr. RICKLER. It is up to $14 to $15 to $17 a day, and it could be brought down in many cases where they are not in need of active care in a hospital. They could be brought into nursing homes at a much lower cost to the community and the public and to the patients themselves. Mr. PELLY. I thank you for your testimony. The CHAIRMAN. Are there any further questions! Mr. YOUNGER. Just one. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Younger. Mr. YOUNGER. What is your average cost per day! Mr. RICKLER. That varies in each community. Mr. YOUNGER. What is your average over the country?
Mr. RICKLER. I would say, basing it upon patients received from welfare or public assistance patients, it runs the gamut of anywhere from $4 a day anywhere up to $7 a day. New York City pays, I believe, $180 to $200-some per month, which, I believe, is about the highest rate. Of course, their costs are higher for operation. And throughout New York State I have taken that up with the welfare, and we try to maintain an average of $5 per day. We cannot make any money on that basis. It is just about what it costs us to operate on that basis per day. But, of course, again, gentlemen, it varies with the community. In some communities it is lower. But generally the standard throughout the country, rents and other expenses, it runs about, for private patient care, from $7 a day up. Am I correct in that statement.
Miss SIEGEL. That is correct.
Mr. RICKLER. I do not want to make a statement I am not quite certain of, but I have made studies of figures, and that is what it runs.
Mr. YOUNGER. Thank you.
Mr. HESELTON. In connection with the language changes that have been suggested, I notice that you use the phrase "proprietary nursing homes” while your association is "registered nursing homes." I am wondering in the use of any language, would that include homes operated, for instance, by Sisters?
Mr. RICKLER. No. We only take private homes in our association, and while we say registered may I explain that in using that name, before we accept any home in our association we see that they comply with the standards that we have set up, that we believe are minimum standards. And on our advisory committees we have members in those communties, I think in practically every community, of the Welfare Department, of the Hospital Association, where we can secure a member. That is why we call it registered nursing homes.
Mr. HESELTON. In terms of any changes in the bill, which would be the phrase?
Mr. RICKLER. Proprietary, meaning privately operated.
Mr. HESELTON. Would that cover those operated by religious organizations?
Mr. RICKLER. No. They are not proprietary. But, of course, sir, they come within the purview of 7341, or they could come within the purview of this bill too.
Mr. HESELTON. If you used “nursing homes" that would cover all of them?
Mr. RICKLER. That would cover all of them. But we are proprietary because we are operated on individual private capital, private investment.
Mr. HESELTON. You mentioned the standards.
briefs you can furnish us on that? Mr RICKLER. No. Is that in our code? Our standards that we have, Mr. Case ?
Mr. CASE. Yes, we have a qualifying sheet.
Mr. RICKLER. We would be glad to leave it with the clerk, what our qualifications are.
Not that I am here to laud our own association, but we have honestly made and do make a sincere effort, and any violation is subject to being removed as a member of the Nursing Home Association.