While few, if any, positive outcomes can come from a global pandemic, the brighter spotlight on nursing home conditions has raised awareness of the dangerous plight of those residing in these so-called “safe” facilities. The California nursing home licensing process is particularly problematic, rife with indecisiveness, lax and poor decision making, and outright misinformation.
Shifting priorities create delays
Yet, even with that evidence and seven months left in the year, California lawmakers are postponing legislative action to mandate nursing homeowners and operators to secure state approval prior to launching formal operations. An oversight committee decided not to hear a bill that would stop the circumvention of license requirements, choosing to wait until 2022.
While the opposition was expected from those in the nursing home industry, the baffling announcement flies in the face of the past year-plus where countless residents died in nursing homes. Further delays only undermine safety in these facilities. Advocates believe that the longer legislators wait, the more nursing home residents will become injured, suffer from serious illnesses, or lose their lives.
There will not be any delays in lawmakers accepting donations from the California Association of Health Facilities. The prominent and influential lobbying organizations have donated more than $1.6 million to legislators over the past decade.
One of those lawmakers, Jim Wood, the assemblyman who announced the more than half-year “pause,” claims that, in spite of the delay, he remains “deeply committed” to solve nursing home licensing issues. In an attempt to prove his commitment to fixing the problems by naming himself as a joint author for the now 2022 bill.
Wood also claims that more data and communication with state agencies will help identify the complicated issues. Apparently, legislative “bandwidth” is at a premium, and other considerations come first while nursing home residents wait for help.