A disturbing example of the the fall-out from state budget cuts, will be the escalation of unregulated skilled nursing and assisted living facilities caring for seniors and the disabled. Delayed inspections— or inspections of facilities that simply never occur— will become the new ‘norm’ in many states that simply do not have sufficient manpower to regulate facilities within their state.
Just recently, Maryland‘s layoffs at the state’s Office of Health Care Quality, has made it physically impossible for officials from the state to conduct mandated surveys of long term care facilities within the state. According to a state investigation, more than one-half of assisted living facilities and more than three-quarters of facilities caring for the disabled were not inspected for patient safety in 2010.
In addition to the lack of facility oversight by state officials, an article in the Washington Examiner revealed how Maryland erroneously issued many (157 ) CNA certificates to people who did not meet the standards or who never applied for the position.
As a nursing home lawyer, I see the fallout of similar state budget reductions on a daily basis as episodes of patient injury and neglect fail to get investigated on timely basis. Without any quick fix for this issue, I fear that more people living in long-term care facilities will face a new era of living in facilities where regulations have little practical meaning and facilities will begin dispensing care with the understanding that there’s little repercussion for their acts.
In addition to the harm inflicted on the individuals, hopefully state officials will soon recognize that staffing reductions are simply not cost effective in the long term. As more residents suffer harm, many of them will look to aid from the states to assist with their hardship. Without sufficient investigative power, the responsible parties will most likely evade paying for such care as they are required to do under the law.
For assistance with a Maryland nursing home abuse matter, see our reference page here.
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