Under a new program initiated by Governor Steve Beshear, Kentuckians will be able to access nursing home inspection reports online. In addition to clearly identifying who the owner of the each facility is, the website will display recent inspection reports and correction plans submitted by facilities in response to such inspections.
While the same reports could have been accessed earlier by the general public by making a request for such information pursuant to the Kentucky Open Records Act, the new disclosure is intended to promote transparency and help increase accessibility to information on nursing homes in the state.
The latest push to improve nursing home transparency comes after the well-publicized investigation by the Lexington Herald-Leader the revealed a lack of action by the state when it comes to prosecuting nursing home injuries and abuse. Amongst the paper’s findings related to nursing home injuries over the past three years in Kentucky:
- Only 7 out of 107 serious safety violations were prosecuted as crimes
- 18 violations were issued following poor care that was attributed to a patient death
- 30 patients required hospitalizations for their injuries
- 5 violations were issued following inspections surrounding patient’s broken bones
- 2 patients had limbs amputated due to violations of state regulations
- 13 nursing home patients suffered injuries due to poor care on the part of the staff members
I am glad Kentucky has embraced technology to help improve patient care in nursing homes. Though it may seem like a bit of a stretch to connect disclosure of nursing home inspection information with patient care, I believe the two indeed are intertwined. As families gain more insight on these facilities, there (hopefully) will be a demand to improve patient care.
For laws related to Kentucky nursing homes, look here.
State putting nursing home inspection reports online by Valarie Honeycutt Spears, December 18, 2010 Lexington Herald-Leader