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⭒ News & Notes Archive

October 2019

In this Issue

Trusted Professionals Target the Assets of America’s Elderly

The consequences of unethical behavior by trusted professionals aren’t just financial.  Research shows that elderly people who fall victim to financial wrongdoing are more likely to die prematurely.  Losing one’s life savings, worrying about maintaining control over assets that remain or simply being embarrassed at having been taken contributed to premature death. Read More

Reforming AB 1629: No More Blank Checks for California Nursing Home Chains

At this moment, California has a golden opportunity to dramatically improve the care of its oft-mistreated nursing home residents. It’s controversial and extraordinarily expensive reimbursement system for skilled nursing facilities – known as AB 1629 – will sunset on July 31, 2020, offering the chance to redesign the failed system to serve residents’ interests. Read More

California Nursing Homes Near Worst in Nation in Nursing Home Complaints

An October report by the federal HHS Office of Inspector General reveals that California nursing homes have one of the highest complaint rates in the nation. The report, Trends in Nursing Home Complaints (2016-2018), shows California nursing homes had the fifth-highest rate of complaints in 2018, 80.9 complaints per 1,000 nursing home residents. Equally concerning, the data shows the number of complaints filed against California nursing homes increased greatly every year since 2011 and more than doubled since 2012 when California nursing homes averaged 40 complaints per 1,000 nursing home residents.

Bugs, Mold and Unwashed Hands: Rampant Safety Violations in Nursing Home Kitchens Endanger Residents

A disturbing article published by FairWarning on October 3, 2019, describes rampant violations of food safety standards by nursing homes that are endangering residents throughout the nation. Read more

CMS Adds Icon to Nursing Home Compare to Warn Public of Abuse

On October 23, 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) added a new abuse icon to its Nursing Home Compare website. The icon’s purpose is to alert the public to nursing homes that have been cited for an abuse violation in the past year or over each of the past two years, depending on the level of harm. Read More

Power Blackouts Endanger Elders

The widespread and widely detested PG&E blackouts in October endangered countless vulnerable elderly and disabled individuals. Reportedly, over 100 nursing homes and even larger numbers of assisted living facilities lost power, while many thousands at home were put at risk in the name of safety. CANHR is interested in learning about how at-risk elders in long-term care facilities were affected by the blackouts.  

Governor Signs Diluted Bill on Nursing Home Ownership

On October 12, 2019, Governor Newsom signed AB 1695 (Carrillo). Initially, it would have set a 90-day deadline for the Department of Public Health (DPH) to act on nursing home licensing applications when ownership is changing to determine if new operators are fit. CANHR supported that version of the bill.  AB 1695 was radically amended to give nursing home operators permission to run a nursing home without a determination of fitness by DPH if it missed the 90-day review deadline. CANHR strongly opposed that version of the bill. Read our letter of opposition here.

All of the above provisions were removed from the version the Governor signed. What is left of it would give most nursing home employees some short-term job protection during changes of ownership and give residents and their representatives 90-day advance notice of planned ownership changes.

Nursing Homes Not Only Industry Protected by the Department of Public Health

A fascinating October 1, 2019 article by Capital & Main describes how the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) betrayed the public beyond those living in nursing homes (whom it routinely betrays). The article focuses on how it helped lobbyists defeat legislation that would protect the public from lead poisoning and questions CDPH’s commitment to protecting public health in California. More broadly, it reveals that siding with the very industries it is charged with regulating is standard operating procedure at CDPH.
Who led this betrayal of public interests? Until June 2019, when Governor Newsom reportedly forced her to resign, CDPH was led by Karen Smith. Under her leadership, Smith not only coddled regulated industries, she “owned, at various times, anywhere from hundreds of thousands of dollars to up to $1.5 million in stock of pesticide manufacturers, health care and long-term nursing companies, cellphone manufacturers and air-polluting oil producers.” In 2018, CANHR called for Smith to be replaced due to conflicts of interest and for deplorable policies and practices that harmed nursing home residents.

On September 13, 2019, Governor Newsom appointed Sonia Angell of New York to replace Smith. CANHR hopes that Dr. Angell has been charged with reversing DPH’s corrupt culture and transforming it into a consumer protection agency.

California To Provide Financial Boost To Help Buy Health Coverage

Starting Jan. 1, California will become the first state to offer subsidies to middle-income people who make too much money to qualify for the federal tax credits that help consumers buy health coverage through Covered California, the state’s Affordable Care Act insurance exchange. Read More

CANHR on the Move

CANHR Senior Staff Attorney Prescott Cole with Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley at the CANHR/California District Attorney Association Elder Financial Abuse Training. 

CANHR Staff celebrating Halloween. 

CANHR Mascots Fozzy and Chloe also participated in Halloween festivities in fine style.