ALAMEDA COUNTY: Nursing Home Inspectors Plan Surprise Visits
Teams of local, state and federal officials soon will begin making surprise visits to nursing homes in Alameda County to catch any patient care violations, the Contra Costa Times reports. Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) yesterday announced that the county will be the first targeted by "Operation Guardians," a state-run program designed to beef up inspections of California's 1,500 nursing homes. Currently, state health officials conduct unannounced inspections every 15 months. Under Operation Guardian, Lockyer said inspectors will look for every type of problem, from minor fire code violations to physical abuse. A congressional investigators report released in June found that more than one-third of nursing homes in the Bay Area committed "violations that harmed or endangered patients." The report also found that 49 of the 112 nursing homes in Alameda and Contra Costa counties were guilty of such violations. Lockyer said, "We estimate that one in two persons will wind up being cared for in a nursing home sometime during their life. We want to be sure that those who contributed so much (to society) are cared for properly." Lockyer noted that Alameda County was selected as the first county to be involved in the program because of its "readiness to prosecute elder abuse cases;" the District Attorney's Office has already handled 10 cases this year (Holbrook, 8/2). Inspection teams soon will be created in Sacramento and San Diego, Lockyer said (Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.