Whether they were under a microscope or a magnifying glass, California nursing homes have faced serious scrutiny before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the worldwide health crisis has revealed serious problems within a supposed health care system that resulted in more than 175,000 residents losing their lives to the coronavirus, accounting for one-third of all deaths nationwide.
The revelation of how licenses are issued is one of the more troubling revelations.
For-profits falling short
Dangerous conditions were already well known due to lack of staffing and failures in the most basic of infection control. Unfortunately, quality care seemed to be the exception, not the rule in nursing homes throughout the country. Studies revealed mainly for-profit elder care facilities falling short as opposed to their non-profit counterparts.
California’s approximately 1,200 nursing homes with a collective population of patients represent the largest in the nation. And many of those are in operation due to a dangerous and deadly loophole that puts residents at even more risk.
Many facilities are open for business, following the state denying their licenses. One, in particular, is ReNew. Nine of their nursing homes remain in operation despite being rejected for licensure due to a continuing pattern of violations. That problem is not exclusive to one company. Facilities that change hands see new ownership allowed to take over, provided that they submit an application, starting a process that is measured in years.
Advocates for nursing home residents claim California has “rolled out the red carpet for bad providers.” These facilities are entrusted with those who cannot care for themselves. Putting a loved one in a facility is not an easy process. It is rife with emotional elements that are only alleviated provided that they trust the nursing home to provide the highest standards of care.
The problems go beyond falling short of standards. California-based ulicensed homes are a clear and present danger. The crisis requires a wholesale change to every aspect of the nursing home licensing process and the dangerous and deadly negligence that continues to take lives long after the pandemic ends.