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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 23, 1998


The Administration enthusiastically supports a proposal by Senator Herb Kohl and Senator Harry Reid to help ensure that seniors get the kind of care they deserve. This proposal was included in the Commerce, Justice, and State Department Appropriations bill approved today by the Senate. Their measure will for the first time give nursing homes the tools they need to prevent people with violent criminal backgrounds from working with vulnerable patients. The provision is based on legislation Senators Kohl and Reid introduced in 1997, which the Administration is using as a model to improve patient protections and oversight of nursing home quality care.

Currently, there is no national system to track individuals who abuse senior citizens and people with disabilities when they are seeking medical care. The recent report to Congress by the Health Care Financing Administration documents continuing abuse of nursing home residents. As President Clinton said when he called for this system, "When families have to worry as much about a loved one in a nursing home as one living alone, then we are failing our parents and we must do more." The proposal by Senators Kohl and Reid meets the President's challenge, and we commend its passage.