Pallone Says He Will Introduce Nursing Home Legislation in Aftermath of Forest View

Apr 29, 2004

Washington, D.C. --- U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today vowed to introduce legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would tighten regulations and impose stiff monetary penalties for nursing homes that violate the federal laws designed to protect our vulnerable elderly population. The New Jersey congressman's announcement follows recent reports that no legal recourse is available to the patients of the Forest View Care Center nursing home in Neptune that were illegally transferred to another facility without proper notice

"It is clear that the Forest View Care Center not only violated federal statute by relocating patients without 30-day written notice, but it also lied to patients, misled the public, and fired 70 union workers at the facility for expressing their concerns on behalf of patients," Pallone said. "The federal government can take action against the Center by revoking its federal provider agreement, however the federal government has not done so yet and should have been required to do so immediately. This is simply unacceptable, and I will introduce legislation that requires action by the federal government and mandates that states impose stiff penalties against nursing homes that do not comply with the law."

Pallone said he hoped his legislation would ensure that an offense similar to Forest View's is not repeated elsewhere, but if it is, proper punitive actions will be taken immediately by the federal and appropriate state government.

"Nursing homes are supposed to be institutions that offer dependable long-term care to America's seniors," Pallone said. "All levels of government must protect seniors against abuses like the ones now being inflicted on more than 80 seniors at the Forest View Care Center."

Earlier this month, after being contacted by former patients and employees of the Forest View Center, Pallone called on NJ Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) Commissioner Clifton R. Lacey to investigate the Center's closing. Following the state's investigation, the Center must submit a corrections plan, before the state revokes its federal provider agreement.

"I believe that no plan by the Center can justify the illegal transfer of patients and the laying off of union workers," Pallone said in response. "It is a travesty that little to no recourse is available to the victims of this situation and I urge the state to take all possible legal action against Forest View."