When you are considering the possibility of moving an elderly loved one into a nursing home or assisted living facility in Encinitas, it can be difficult to determine whether a particular facility is likely to be a safe and healthy space for your loved one if it does not have any obvious problems. Many families look for histories of elder abuse violations, and check to see whether certain facilities have warning labels from the federal government.
However, according to a recent report in The Mercury News, a new Senate report indicates “nearly 400 facilities nationwide had a persistent record of poor care . . . but they were not included along with a shorter list of homes that get increased federal scrutiny and do have warning labels. For families in California, it is important to know that 34 of these potentially dangerous facilities are located in the state of California.
Budget Cuts Limit Federal Inspections of Facilities, Resulting in Lack of Transparency
One of the reasons that many of these facilities do not show up as potentially problematic sites is that “focused inspections . . . are required for nursing homes on the shorter list.” However, due to budget cuts, a majority of these 400 facilities simply have not received the kind of focused investigation necessary to highlight their potential hazards to seniors and their families.
At the same time, as the report underscores, the fact that 400 potentially dangerous facilities are not highlighted as such raises a serious concern about transparency. According to Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa., one of the senators who issued the report, “we’ve got to make sure any family member or any potential resident of a nursing home can get this information, not only ahead of time but on an ongoing basis.” Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who also issued the report, emphasized that, “when a family makes the hard decision to seek nursing home services for a loved one, they deserve to know if a facility under consideration suffers from systemic shortcomings.”
Understanding the Special Focus Facility Program
While the federal government did not initially release the names of the (hundreds of) facilities and their locations, the senators behind the recent report made that list available to the public. The list of questionable facilities is classified by state. All California facilities in question are on the first page of the list as of April 2019, including the federal provider numbers and the Special Focus Status of the facility.
While the names of facilities that are in the Special Focus Facility program—meaning that they have documented problems—previously were available to the public, that list included only about 80 names. The current list provided by Senators Casey and Toomey also includes the 400 facilities that are Special Focus Facility program “candidates.” According to the Senate report, these facilities that are designated as candidates for the program “qualify . . . because they are identified as having a persistent record of poor care but are not selected for participation as a result of limited resources at CMS.” Now families can also readily identify the facilities that have been classified as candidates for the program, and thus may be unsafe for elderly family members.
Contact an Encinitas Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Do you need help filing a claim against a nursing home or assisted living facility? Do you have concerns about a senior’s safety? A compassionate Encinitas nursing home abuse lawyer can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can assist your family.
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