NURSING HOMES: Lawmakers Urged to Ensure Seniors’ Health, Safety
Although Gov. Gray Davis (D) last year vetoed a measure, sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Shelley (D-San Francisco), that would have imposed "tough standards" on the state's nursing homes, a San Diego Union-Tribune editorial notes that in this session, Davis has offered a revised version of the bill that appears headed for "easy passage." Having already cleared one committee, the bill should sail through the Legislature, the editorial contends, unless "unruly lawmakers" join Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-San Jose) to press for the original bill. Calling him a "unreconstructed liberal who loves to roil the legislative waters," the editorial states that Vasconcellos, who believes Shelley's bill is better than the governor's, reintroduced the original measure. While "horror stories abound of helpless patients" suffering in inhuman conditions, the editorial urges lawmakers to work toward a compromise that will "ensure that California's burgeoning senior population ... is not put at risk in poorly run long term care facilities." Calling on legislators to "reach consensus on a measure that will strengthen state oversight of nursing homes, stiffen penalties for abuses and provide the financial support needed to prevent staff turnover," the editorial concludes, "Gov. Davis has repeatedly stressed the importance of seniors being allowed to age with dignity. Raising health and safety standards in California nursing homes is crucial to achieving that humane objective" (5/5).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.