Newspaper Editorials Respond to California HealthCare Foundation Nursing Home Study
Several newspapers have weighed in on a study released last week by the California HealthCare Foundation that found 75% of nursing homes in the state do not meet federal quality standards and 44% violate the state's minimum nurse staffing level requirements. Summaries of several editorials on the study appear below:
Bakersfield Californian: Federal and state governments, the nursing home industry and consumers should combine their efforts to improve nursing home quality, a Californian editorial states. However, implementing solutions such as a new minimum staffing level mandated by the state, will take time, the editorial adds. Although state and federal governments have proposed programs that would more closely monitor nursing homes through the use of patient advocates or regional consultants, "steps have to be taken by individuals" to determine which nursing homes are performing adequately, the editorial says. The editorial concludes that until federal and state funding is available to increase nursing home reimbursement rates, "it will be vital for the industry itself to be more aggressive in self-policing and to propose alternative ways to improve efficiency and, thus, service" (Bakersfield Californian, 10/17).
San Jose Mercury News: State and federal regulations should "tie government reimbursements directly" to nursing home staffing levels to increase the level of care at such facilities, a Mercury News editorial states. The industry says that public funding for nursing home care is inadequate, but studies reveal that, "on the whole," nursing home chains are profitable. The editorial maintains that "money will only flow into adequate staffing when that becomes the top priority." If governments "[r]equire homes to prove adequate staffing levels -- no excuses -- before the check is cut ... [they] will find enough workers to give frail, elderly Americans the care they need and deserve," the editorial concludes (San Jose Mercury News, 10/21).
- Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Although it is "easy to blame nursing home administrators" for low staffing levels at their facilities, "society also plays a role," and government reimbursements to nursing homes should be increased, a Press Democrat editorial states. The problem, which is likely to get worse when baby boomers begin requiring long-term care, can only be resolved if "wages go up" and nurses are "treated like professionals," the editorial contends. The Press Democrat concludes, "Reform better happen soon" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 10/19).