New Georgia bill to reform senior health care facilities

A new bill was signed on June 30, which aims to reduce the risk of nursing home negligence in Georgia. House Bill 987 seeks to tackle some of the problems in the state’s health care facilities for older people brought to the public’s attention in a two-year investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC).

Georgia’s Department of Community and Health will draw up the detailed rules needed to implement the new legislation. Most things covered by it will come into place in July 2021, allowing care facilities almost a year to comply with the changes. These are the main resolutions of the new law:

  • Higher fines for failure to meet the regulations resulting in death or severe injury.
  • Memory care units will need to be certified and require more staff.
  • Outlawing of retaliation against whistleblowers.
  • Increased financial and licensing requirements.

While this will not solve the problem of nursing home negligence, it is a positive step forward. The AJC report found over 600 cases of neglect and 90 of abuse by staff in the state’s 400 or so large elder care facilities in the last four years.

Georgia nursing homes are not cheap, with costs running between $3,000 and $8,000 per month. Yet many owners choose to compromise the resident’s well-being and safety to reduce operational costs and increase profit. The AJC report found understaffing and inadequate staff training were common themes in homes where neglect or abuse occurred.

If you believe a family member has suffered as a result of nursing home negligence in Atlanta, an attorney could help you fight for compensation.