NURSING HOMES: Study Finds 1-in-5 LA County Homes Violate Standards
A study of Los Angeles County nursing homes revealed that residents in nearly one in five homes suffer from violations of federal standards of care, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. Eighty-three of the 439 participating homes -- 19 percent -- had citations, according to the report released by the Democratic staff of the House Government Operations Committee. Calling the results "shocking and disturbing," the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Henry Waxman, stated, "People have a right to know how their parents, relatives and friends are being treated in Los Angeles nursing homes." Many of the deficiencies involved "serious problems such as pressure sores, accidents, improper use of medications and restraints, malnutrition, dehydration and unsanitary conditions," the report notes. It continued, "Many residents are not receiving the care that their families expect and that federal law requires." The study reviewed reports of nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medi-Cal funding. The inspections used for the study looked at a variety of criteria ranging from bookkeeping to patient safety, and were conducted by state investigators between November 1997 and August 1999. Representatives of the nursing home industry assert that inspection reports can be misleading. Vice president of the California Association of Health Facilities Peggy Goldstein notes that the inspection reports "lag behind nursing homes' adoption of remedies," so that the reports often "do not provide a true picture of what's going on." Echoing Goldstein, the study suggests that the data is a "snapshot" of current conditions, and "New management or enforcement activities can bring rapid improvement; other changes can lead to rapid deterioration" (Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 11/22).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.