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U.S. Senate Aging Committee Denounces Nursing Home Oversight Failures

On May 18, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging released a report, “Uninspected and Neglected, Nursing Home Inspection Agencies are Severely Understaffed, Putting Residents at Risk.”  The report links significant delays in nursing home inspections and complaint investigations with poor care and resident rights violations.  When shoddy practices are not discovered and remedied in a timely way, residents are endangered and needlessly suffer.  While the need for timely inspections and complaint investigations has grown substantially in the past ten years, the resources dedicated to them has been stagnant, resulting in surveyor shortages, delayed data reporting to consumers, failed oversight, and resident abuse and neglect.

The report also examined states’ (including California’s) increased use of private contractors to perform nursing home surveys instead of state employee surveyors.  The report questioned the quality of the contractors’ work and found contractors are much more expensive than state employees and often have conflicts of interest with the survey work as they sometimes provide paid consulting services to the same nursing homes they are surveying.

In addition to releasing its report, the Committee also hosted a hearing on nursing home oversight where the panel members unanimously advocated for improved state supervision.

In California, 609 nursing homes (more than half in the entire state) have not had a timely annual inspection while 168 nursing homes have not had an annual inspection since 2019.