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Nursing home oversight change could be bad news for seniors

People in California who have loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living facilities might be interested in a recent article about the Governor's new approach to nursing home oversight in Los Angeles County and across the state. The governor's new budget would shift a lot of the responsibility for the inspection and certification of nursing homes and other specialized medical and care facilities to the counties, many of which will have to adapt and create new programs to meet this new challenge.

The Governor's budget also provides additional funding for the counties to fulfill these duties, but many senior advocates and others close to the situation say that this new system could allow some nursing home patients to slip through the cracks. They reason that changes in the inspection and oversight of these homes will cause a major gap in the continuity of service, and new personnel and county employees will have to be trained and must become familiar with area facilities, both of which require a great deal of time, effort and resources that they simply may not be able to muster.

On the other hand, the current system is also failing California's most vulnerable citizens, so anything to improve the situation may be a welcome attempt. In Los Angeles County alone there are more than 10,000 open complaints and self-reported nursing home staff issues that are sitting in a backlog, yet to be investigated. Many of these have been open for quite some time, some for years.

California seniors and disabled people deserve a system that will respect their basic human rights and provide some much needed enforcement and accountability for their care and comfort. Unfortunately, reports can go uninvestigated for far too long, which is why people who suspect their loved ones are the victims of nursing home neglect or abuse may consider taking matters into their own hands and call an experienced personal injury attorney.

Source: Los Angeles Times "State, L.A. County set to overhaul nursing home oversight procedure," Abby Sewell, Apr. 29, 2015

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