Questions about nursing home quality continued to dominate. By 1960 a U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging report said that 44% of nursing home beds failed to meet Hill-Burton fire and health standards. This should not have been surprising because few had been held to those standards (or any standards!) when they were built.
One reason for concerns about quality was due to fatal nursing home fires, which were becoming all too common. Some of the largest and most publicized included:
Major Multi-Fatality Nursing Home Fires
|20||October 31, 1952||Hillsboro, MO|
|33||March 29, 1953||Largo, FL|
|21||January 30, 1957||Hogham, WA|
|72||February 17, 1957||Warrenton, MO|
|63||November 23, 1963||Fitchville, OH|
|20||December 18, 1964||Fountaintown, IN|
|31||January 9, 1970||Marietta, OH|
|23||January 30, 1976||Chicago, IL|
The Senate created the Special Committee on Aging in 1961, chaired by Senator Frank Moss, and they began to hold hearings on nursing home problems. The Moss Committee hearings in 1965 documented a huge lack of consistency in state nursing home standards and enforcement efforts, but they expressed caution about increasing enforcement because that meant closing facilities, which were already in short supply. They were concerned that there would be no place to put the dispossessed patients.