In This Issue
Unmasked: How California’s Largest Nursing Home Chains Perform
The Sacramento Bee published a groundbreaking series of articles in November on who owns California nursing homes and why it matters to people who need nursing home care. The sweeping three-part series by Marjie Lundstrom and Phillip Reese identifies and examines the performance of California’s 25 largest nursing home chains, exposes some of the people behind them and questions why they are so poorly regulated.
Part 1 is a data-driven examination of how the largest nursing home chains are performing. Using public data, The Sacramento Bee rated each of the 25 largest chains, giving lowest marks to the following: LifeHouse Health Services, EmpRes Healthcare Management LLC, Genesis HealthCare Corp., Mariner Health Care, and Brius Healthcare Services/Shlomo Rechnitz.
Part 2 examines the great lengths nursing home companies go to disguise what facilities they own and their business relationships. As part of its coverage, The Sacramento Bee launched a statewide database on California nursing homes that identifies which facilities are owned by chains and the name of the chain for each facility.
Part 3 describes the Department of Public Health’s total failure to measure quality of care throughout a nursing home chain and to give complete and accurate information on nursing home ownership on its consumer information website. A Sacramento Bee editorial following the series summed up the situation: “People who enforce the rules fail on the most basic level – helping people understand which chains operate safe and humane facilities, and which aren’t acceptable."
LA County Health Department Allegedly Falsified Nursing Home Probe Records
Kaiser Health News reports that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) allegedly falsified the dates it received complaints about nursing homes in order to circumvent California law and a 2006 court order CANHR obtained against the Department directing it to follow the law. California law requires the Department of Public Health to begin onsite investigations within ten working days of receiving a complaint about a nursing home, or within 24 hours if the allegation involves the imminent threat of death or serious harm.
The article describes an August 6, 2014 e-mail from an assistant supervisor to County DPH administrators protesting the falsification of complaint dates. She wrote that the Department cites nursing homes for fraudulent record-keeping and yet, “here we are falsifying the records.”
Another County employee, Kimberly Nguyen, sent a letter on October 7, 2014 to county, state and federal officials detailing the falsification and seeking investigations. Ms. Nguyen, a nurse surveyor for the Department, reported that 11 of 15 complaints (73%) assigned to her had falsified dates. In one case, the Department recorded that a complaint was received 79 days after the Department actually received it. Consequently, the Department is not initiating nursing home complaint investigations in a timely manner.
In her letter, Ms. Nguyen reported that her supervisor knew of the falsification but took no action and that the illegal practice continued even after an August 27, 2014 report by the Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller raised concerns that the Department was not entering the correct dates that complaints were received. Ms. Nguyen’s letter states, “Falsification is a serious matter and unlawful and our department should know better to not manipulate paperwork to mislead others and the public.”
Center for Public Integrity Finds Widespread Inflation of Nursing Home Staffing Levels
In another three-part series published in November, The Center for Public Integrity examined the accuracy of nursing home staffing data, HUD' financing of substandard nursing homes and inferior care provided to minorities.
Part 1 of the series reveals that the staffing information available to the public on CMS’s Nursing Home Compare is widely inflated and misleading.
Part 2 of the series examines HUD financing of lowly rated nursing homes. The Center reports that HUD gave mortgage guarantees to hundreds of poorly rated nursing homes since 2009. According to its report, the number and volume of one-star facilities that received HUD insurance rose each year from 2009 to 2012, despite two decades of critical reports on this practice from the US Government Accountability Office and HUD’s Office of the Inspector General.
Part 3 of the series reports that nursing homes serving minorities offer less care than those housing whites. The Center found that majority-white nursing homes – where a majority of residents were non-Latino whites – had average registered nurse care levels 60 percent higher than Latino-majority homes and 34 percent higher than facilities where a majority of residents were African-American.
The Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI) Implementation is cancelled in Alameda County
Earlier this month the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced a delay of the implementation of the duals demonstration project. More recently concerns about the Alameda Alliance for Healthcare’s capacity to provide quality-coordinated benefits, have led to the cancellation of the implementation of CCI into Alameda County.
CANHR is Hiring
Are you looking for an administrative assistant position in the San Francisco area? Send your resume to Robert@canhr.org. Find out more about the position here:
Support CANHR When You Purchase Holiday Gifts on Amazon
When you shop on Amazon for gifts this holiday season, be sure to login to smile.amazon.com and select California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform as the organization you wish to support. For every eligible item purchase, Amazon will donate 0.5% of your payment to CANHR. You will still have access to all of Amazon’s unique prices and services.
Happy Thanksgiving from CANHR
We at CANHR have many things to be thankful for in 2014:
- The triumphs of the 2014 RCFE Reform Act
- Our newest long term care advocate, Julie Pollock
- A new baby at CANHR, Zadie Chicowu
- Generous donors like you who allow us to provide advocacy for California’s long term care residents and their families.
Dementia Care California Trainings: Sustaining Momentum and Success
On February 23 (Sacramento) and February 25 (Pasadena), the California Partnership to End Unnecessary Anti-psychotic Use and Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes, through the California Culture Change Coalition, is hosting two dementia care training events. Click here
for more information about the training and how to register.