Nursing Home Deficiencies Underreported, Report Finds
Health officials underreport deficiencies and harm to residents at California nursing homes, according to a report released last month by the Government Accountability Office, the Los Angeles Times reports.
GAO found that between July 2003 and January 2005, California inspectors reported serious deficiencies at 6% of nursing homes, compared with states such as Connecticut, which reported serious problems at 54% of its nursing homes. In 1999, California inspectors reported serious deficiencies at 29% of nursing homes.
The report, which examined compliance with federal quality and safety rules, also found that nursing home inspections in California were more predictable than in other states. Nearly 28% of inspections in the state are held within two weeks of a facility's last annual inspection, according to the report. Nationally, about 14% of inspections are held within two weeks of the previous year's inspection.
Brenda Klutz, head of the Department of Health Services nursing home division, said California has a lower rate of finding deficiencies because inspectors "detect so many more things at an earlier stage and require nursing homes to correct them before they get to the point where they harm residents."
Klutz also said DHS has received conflicting information from CMS as to what problems should be reported (Richardson, Los Angeles Times, 1/26).
The GAO report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the report.