In this Issue
- Antipsychotic Use in California Nursing Homes on the Rise
- State Auditor Designates the Department of Public Health as a High-Risk Agency Due to Poor Oversight of Nursing Homes
- NY Times Examines Assisted Living Understaffing
- Long Term Care Braces for COVID-19
- Executive Director Pat McGinnis Testifies at California Senate Hearing
Antipsychotic Use in California Nursing Homes on the Rise
Despite a few years of hullabaloo about the overuse of antipsychotic drugs and other chemical restraints in nursing homes, use of antipsychotics is unfortunately on the rise in California. After a nearly 25% decrease in antipsychotic use from 2012 – 2016, levels flattened and have now been on the rise since 2018. An appalling one in five California nursing home residents are still routinely drugged with dangerous and typically inappropriate antipsychotic drugs. For the past several years, a great deal of antipsychotic use has not been widely reported due to a CMS quality measure that does not count certain residents who receive antipsychotics. That measure has been gamed so extremely that now almost half of the 20,000 California nursing home residents drugged with antipsychotics are not counted by CMS.
State Auditor Designates the Department of Public Health as a High-Risk Agency Due to Poor Oversight of Nursing Homes
In January, the California State Auditor issued a report, State High Risk, that named state agencies that pose a high risk to the public due to mismanagement and other failures. Once again, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) was so designated, one of only four state agencies to earn this dubious distinction. The report states that CDPH remains a high-risk agency because its failures to properly investigate complaints and issue timely citations continue to jeopardize the safety of nursing home residents.
It also reveals that CDPH had not implemented eight recommendations from five audits and that CDPH stated it would not implement three other recommendations.
Read California Health Report’s February 10, 2020 article on the State Auditor’s findings.
NY Times Examines Assisted Living Understaffing
The NY Times recently reviewed a series of class action lawsuits, filed by Kathryn Stebner of Stebner & Associates, against large assisted living chains for having inadequate staffing to meet the needs of their residents. The heart of the class action cases, against such providers like Sunrise Senior Living, Atria, Aegis, and Oakmont, are allegations that facilities perform resident needs assessments to set and increase resident charges but do not use those assessments to establish the staffing levels in the facility. Thus, residents are paying for care and services they may not be actually getting. The article also points out that most states, including California, have no minimum staffing ratios. If you have been subjected to a suspect assessment or inappropriate rate increase in a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly, please contact CANHR at 800-474-1116.
Long Term Care Braces for COVID-19
LeadingAge, an association of more than 6,000 organizations working in the aging services sector, has issued new guidance to its members relating to care for elders in the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus. The organization points out that elder populations are especially vulnerable to the new Coronavirus, requiring methodical preparations on the part of caregivers. This take is consistent with the concerns of health authorities outside the US regarding the virus’ potential spread among long term care residents, seen in the Japan Times.
Healthcare workers can look to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for steps in preparing staff, creating communication plans and basic preventive measures.
Executive Director Pat McGinnis Testifies at California Senate Hearing
On February 24th, CANHR Executive Director Pat McGinnis testified at the California State Senate Committee on Human Services oversight hearing regarding State Oversight of Homes for Vulnerable Adults. To watch a video of the hearing, CLICK HERE. Director McGinnis’ testimony begins just over an hour and twenty four minutes into the proceedings.
CANHR on the Move
CANHR 2020 Legislation Day
February 26 – CANHR staff went to Sacramento and spent the day at the State Capitol advocating for elder care related legislation with Assemblymembers, Senators and their staff members.