Problems within the nursing home industry aren't new, they're only becoming more apparent as the years go on. A decade ago, the woman who leads California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) took California to court. The reason? State officials neglected to follow the law regarding the collection of nursing home ownership information. Although CANHR won their lawsuit, these problems are deeply rooted and require more than a single court date to fully unearth them once and for all.
WHAT ARE THE CURRENT ISSUES WE'RE FACING?
It is easy to assume that after 10 years, the state would have learned something and acted upon the need for change. Clearly this is not the case. The same woman is preparing a second lawsuit, this time over the way the Department of Public Health is supervising California's nursing home industry as a whole.
California has the most nursing homes of any state in the country and this kind of authority needs a high level of supervision to back it up, which is exactly where the Department of Public Health is failing. The department is not keeping up with the changing landscape of elderly health care, which directly effects the way senior citizens are being provided for.
Public database records are missing huge chunks of valuable and pertinent information about which individuals really own the nursing home facilities. These repeated instances of failed transparency have left consumers stymied on how to proceed.
To counteract these issues, one woman wants the performance of nursing home chains monitored, rather than just separate homes. This is not the time to work on a case-by-case basis. The problems start at the top of the chain and work their way down, infiltrating all the other links in the chain – in this case, the nursing homes.
Unfortunately, requirements that were insisted on 10 years ago in court regarding nursing home ownership are still not being followed through on. Even with all the information that should be readily available, consumers sit wanting in their quest to find out who owns what. The Department of Public Health responded to queries of missing information saying that individuals are required to request information before it is released.
And it's not just the Department of Public Health's database that is sorely lacking. Other databases, including the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is full of glaring holes and much of what is there is convoluted at best. This database allows facilities to “self-report” their own data and ownership, which only contributes to the mess that it is currently in.
While the company announced a complete overhaul in October, there is still one major problem – until companies are willing to go directly to the head of the chain and work their way down, the issues will not go away any time soon.