About the Safe Food for Seniors Act - 114th Congress

aboutsfsThe Safe Food for Seniors Act of 2015 was introduced into the 114th Congress!  H.R. 3356 was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce on July 29, 2015.  The bill is sponsored Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-2).  

By late 2016, the Safe Food for Seniors Act had 10 bipartisan cosponsors (listed below) and we thank all of them for supporting our bill, which enhanced our position with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  H.R. 3356 ended with the 114th Congress as of Dec. 31, 2016 but we don’t plan to reintroduce it in the next Congress because we achieved our goal on Oct. 4, 2016, when CMS published its final rule “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Reform of Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities” in the Federal Register.  Of the many changes to the regulations, the most important is the CDM credential being listed first amongst qualifications for the newly designated Director of Food and Nutrition Services.  Current ANFP members can view this victory with pride, knowing that Washington, DC, now views the CDM credential as essential to maintaining quality in LTC facilities, and future ANFP members can look forward to a clearly-defined career path with pride.

The Value of the Credential
Certification for dietary managers, similar to registration for dietitians and dietetic technicians, establishes a minimum level of competence that both employers and the public can expect in defined roles.  Additionally, because certification requires continuing education, the credential assures that the certified individual stays on top of the latest technology and trends within the industry.

Obtaining certification involves a one-time cost for training and testing expenses which are covered by the individual and/or provider.  Furthermore, certification requirements for The Safe Food for Seniors Act do not require additional funding from the federal government and is considered “revenue neutral” to the U.S. Treasury.

Why is this Initiative Important to Us?
Foodborne illness is a serious public health threat to Americans of all ages, but seniors are often most at-risk.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne illness.  Fatalities from foodborne illness among nursing home residents are far greater than for the general population.  Consider these facts:

  • 1 out of 3 nursing homes and LTC facilities have documented dietary sanitation deficiencies.
  • Just 50% of these facilities have a full-time dietary staff member certified in food safety.
  • Only 18 states include certification from the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers as a dietary staffing requirement in long-term care.

Currently there are no minimum federal training or certification requirements for a director of foodservices in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. 

Given the vulnerability of our elderly population, we are asking our policymakers to further protect the millions of seniors in nursing homes and long-term care facilities by enacting the Safe Food for Seniors Act.

How Can I Make a Difference?

Use your power as a constituent! Check out our handy web tools on the right.  “Join the Cause” to be part of our grassroots campaign; encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.   “Reach Out” to find your legislator and follow-up accordingly (and repeatedly)! 

H.R.3356 Sponsor               

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-2)

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins currently serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, the chief tax writing committee in the House of Representatives. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, she serves on both the Health Subcommittee and Trade Subcommittee.

Click on each representative's name to access their website for direct contact information.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3)  
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL-6)                      
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA-5)                      
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA-4)    
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA-2)              
Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL-10)
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS-4)
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-6)
Rep. Sanford Bishop, Jr. (D-GA-2)
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL-20)