October 4, 2001

Rep. Berkowitz To Head House Committee Reviewing Nursing Homes

First District State Representative Sam Berkowitz, D-Memphis, has been named chair of the newly appointed House Interim Committee on Nursing Home Caregiving.

"I have a special interest in this issue as my mother is in a nursing home and of course I want the same level of care for all senior citizens in nursing homes," said Rep. Berkowitz. "As our population grows older, we have to be prepared to accommodate a larger number of senior citizens in our nursing homes without the quality of care being sacrificed."

A concern over the quality of nursing home care in the state and the possible shortage of facilities to handle the aging Baby Boomer generation has lead Missouri Speaker of the House Jim

Kreider, D-Nixa, to appoint the committee.

"As the population of our state ages, we know there will be growing pressure on the long-term care industry to create new facilities, and to be prepared for more complex types of care," said Speaker Kreider. "It is our duty to make sure the industry is ready, and assure our senior citizens they will have access to the quality of care they need."

The House Interim Committee on Nursing Home Caregiving is charged with investigating nursing home operations, both rural and statewide. The

committee will investigate such issues as the quality of care, staff

turnover, and occupancy rates.

Of particular concern is the need for additional facilities for the Baby Boomer generation, which is just now reaching retirement age. The committee will also review Medicaid reimbursement rates and compare them to the actual cost of running a nursing home, and will deliver a report to Speaker Kreider no later than November 30.

Joining Rep. Berkowitz in the committee leadership group will be vice-chair Rep. Nancy

Copenhaver, D-Moberly. Other members of the committee include: Rep. Joan Barry, D-St. Louis; Rep. Jason Crowell,

R-Cape Girardeau; Rep. Kathlyn Fares, R-Webster Groves; Rep. Robert Hilgemann, D-St. Louis; Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth; Rep. Mark Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff; and Rep. Yvonne Wilson, D-Kansas City.

"This committee is charged with a very important mission -- to ensure that our seniors get quality care in nursing homes," said Speaker Kreider. "It is our duty as Missourians to make sure our senior citizens get the best care possible."

"It is our duty to guarantee we are providing the best possible care to Missouri's senior citizens," said Rep. Berkowitz.

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