Too many nursing home complaints? Stop investigating.
That’s the strategy put forth by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which recently told its inspectors to quit looking into facility-related grievances as it deals with more than 9,000 existing cases related to nursing home health and safety, according to the California HealthCare Foundation.
In an effort to address the backlog of cases, county inspectors were told to stop looking into complaints filed anonymously and to close investigations if two closely timed inspections did not identify similar issues, according to an article in a foundation publication. Inspectors, however, were instructed to continue to investigate claims involving suspected abuse or neglect as well as high-profile cases and those involved in lawsuits.
State law requires examinations to start within 10 days after a complaint is filed, the foundation notes. That window narrows to 24 hours if the grievance suggests looming danger.
The county’s public health department says it implemented the strategy as a reaction to pressure from the state to close cases, the article notes, but the state public health department says it does not support the county’s approach.