Norris Passes Reform of State Veterans Nursing Homes

May 7, 2008

Norris Passes Reform of State Veterans Nursing

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) passed legislation today reforming the Tennessee Veterans Nursing Homes. The nursing homes have come under increasing state and federal scrutiny following recent allegations of abuse.  The bill, SB 3919, restructures the board, consolidates daily management responsibilities in a new executive committee, and provides for heightened accountability between board members and state government.

Over the past two years, Norris has repeatedly challenged the Governor to reexamine the structure and investigate mismanagement of the homes. Admissions were suspended
at Humboldt and Murfreesboro for a time last year.

“The treatment of some of these veterans has been intolerable,” said Norris. “Reforming the board is a necessary first step toward assuring the appropriate level of care.”

The bill requires appointment of two new members with clinical nursing home and administrative experience, and it makes the Commissioner of Finance and Administration a member of the Board as well. New reporting and legislative review requirements are also enacted.

“The purpose of this bill is threefold,” added Norris.  “It embraces the need for a more traditional corporate structure with ample professional expertise while maintaining the current emphasis on a strong veteran presence.  It also redefines the board’s powers and duties in a way that makes it more accountable to the Governor and General Assembly and, most importantly, to Tennessee’s veterans and their families.  Third, by consolidating more responsibility for oversight of the daily operation of the homes in an executive committee, management will be strengthened to allow the board to focus on its broader mission of serving our veterans – our heroes.”

In the House, the bill awaits approval by the Finance, Ways, & Means Committee before moving on to the full House.

Senator Norris represents the West Tennessee Counties of Shelby, Tipton, Lauderdale, and Dyer.

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