Fewer Nursing Homes Operating in Some Areas
Areas such as San Mateo County have experienced an increase in the number of assisted living facilities and other residential care facilities, just as the number of free-standing nursing homes declines, the San Mateo County Times reports.
Since the beginning of 2005, three nursing homes have closed in the county. Sixteen continue to operate.
About 6,000 residential care facilities in California maintain 140,000 beds, while the 1,400 nursing homes in the state operate about 100,000 beds.
The Times reports that the Department of Health Services regulates nursing homes stringently but that the Department of Social Services' Community Care Licensing Division applies less rigorous oversight of residential care facilities.
Kate O'Malley, a senior programming officer in the hospitals and nursing homes program at the California HealthCare Foundation, said, "It's hard to know much about the quality of care in residential facilities because the data is not readily available." O'Malley said that the state inspects residential care facilities once every five years unless a complaint is received in the interim (Gordon, San Mateo County Times, 1/4).