SENIOR CARE: Davis Bailed Out?
On Oct. 11, Gov. Gray Davis "bailed out on an even watered down" legislation that would have reformed nursing home care according to William Fisher, executive director of the Alzheimer's Association of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. In his letter to the San Mateo County Times, Fisher asserts that even though the carefully crafted bill was "amended beyond recognition by nursing industry lobbyists," the measure would have enhanced patient care in nursing homes. Citing a 1998 GAO report that found one-third of California nursing homes suffering from "serious or potentially threatening care problems," Fisher explains that even with the bill's "minimalist reform," there would have been more staff-patient hours, more staff training and more significant fines for patient endangerment. Fisher also states that while the current average cost for nursing home care in the U.S. is $42,000 per year, the Bay Area's costs are in excess of $74,000 annually -- for substandard care. Noting that Alzheimer's advocates will "be back in Sacramento ... looking for authentic reform," Fisher concludes that the "lives of our loved ones depend on nursing home reform" (11/18).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.