OLR Bill Analysis

HB 5766

AN ACT CONCERNING NURSING HOME COMPLIANCE WITH COMFORTABLE AND SAFE TEMPERATURE STANDARDS.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) commissioner to take certain actions if she investigates or inspects a nursing home and finds it to be noncompliant with minimum temperature standards because the facility is inadequate. The commissioner must require the nursing home owner to sign a consent order assuring that necessary improvements or repairs will be made within a specified timeframe. If the owner violates the consent order, the commissioner may assess a civil penalty of up to $ 1,000 for each day the violation continues.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2013

BACKGROUND

Nursing Home Temperatures

The Public Health Code requires areas nursing home residents use to have a minimum temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit; all other occupied areas must have a temperature of at least 70 degrees (Conn. Agencies Reg., 19-13-D8t(d)). The law allows homes to maintain lower temperatures if they comply with federal “comfortable and safe” temperature standards (CGS 19a-522a). Federal regulations, which specify the standards, require nursing homes initially certified after October 2, 1990 to maintain a temperature range of 71-81 degrees Fahrenheit (42 CFR 483.15(h)(6)). (Thus, homes can lower temperatures in resident rooms below 75 degrees).

By law, the DPH commissioner must issue citations and civil penalties to nursing homes for class A or class B violations of any statute or regulation (CGS 19a-527). A class A violation is one that presents an immediate danger of death or serious harm to a nursing home patient; a class B violation is one that presents a probability of death or serious harm. Under DPH interpretation, a violation of nursing home temperature standards does not rise to these levels of classification.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Aging Committee

Joint Favorable Change of Reference

Yea

11

Nay

0

(02/14/2013)

Public Health Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

18

Nay

10

(03/11/2013)