NURSING HOMES: AARP Urges Reform to Punish Negligent Homes
Nursing homes in California are dangerous, poorly regulated places, according to Inland Valley officials speaking Monday at an AARP-sponsored meeting. Mickey Galvin, deputy director of the San Bernadino County Department of Aging and Adult Services, said, "We don't want to keep nursing homes from earning a living. We just want people to get quality care." A recent federal General Accounting Office report revealed that 30% of the state's facilities "have caused death or serious harm to their residents," while only 2% "had minimal or no deficiencies." Another study by the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform "found two homes in the Inland Valley" -- the former Rancho Mesa Care Center in Rancho Cucamonga and the Palomares Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Pomona -- "were near the top in violations." Advocates said the best way to improve care is through Assemblyman Kevin Shelley's (D-San Francisco) nursing home reform bill, which would enforce stricter penalties. Cliff Wannamaker of AARP's state legislative committee said, "The problems with the laws today is that they mean well, but they have no teeth. For all the laws, the conditions are the same as they were 25 years ago." Helen Savage, the AARP's advocacy representative, added, "The message is we want better nursing homes now. And nursing homes that mistreat people should be punished now" (Gotsch, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 3/24).
Moving North ...
In related news, Orangeburg Convalescent Hospital in Modesto will close next month, the result of a state survey that indicated the home was deficient in 36 federal code requirements. The home's owner, Eli Chalich, "is being fined $10,000 a day dating back to March 16 and continuing until compliance is achieved or the facility closes." Ernie Trujillo, district manager of licensing and certification for the state Department of Health and Human Services, said the home's 35 residents will be transferred to other area homes (Smith, Modesto Bee, 3/24).