The Urban Institute estimates that the number of Americans who will require assisted living or nursing home care will increase by more than 50% between 2000 and 2040. As that number continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for state and federal regulators to keep track of each and every facility, which is leading to an epidemic of improper care for our elderly.

The Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act of 2009 was recently introduced as part of the controversial health care reform legislation currently before Congress. A similar bill was proposed, and failed, just last year. A key component of the bill would require Nursing Home Compare to list the number of criminal violations by each nursing home facility, or crimes committed by their employees. Additionally, each state would have to post survey reports online detailing the inspector’s findings. These provisions are just the first steps in a much needed effort to protect those Americans in assisted living facilities.