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The Most Important Job In America…. Nursing Home Surveyors

Firefighters, teachers and doctors are all important to the functioning of our society.  Without the services they provide, people would suffer in many respects.  But when it comes to jobs that are pivotal to the immediate safety, health and overall welfare of people– especially the elderly, I nominate state and local nursing home inspectors as the most important job in America.

Go ahead email me about how ‘wrong’ I am.  There can be no doubt that without this group of civil servants an untold number of our elderly would suffer serious injury or die needlessly.

Nursing home inspectors are on the front-lines of patient safety– assuring all applicable laws our complied with.  In the case of a patient injury, inspectors are there again to determine how the incident occurred and how similar incidents could be prevented in the future.  Similarly, when a facility says it will take corrective action, nursing home inspectors are there to assure the plan is complied with.

Picture-1411Today’s example of the vital role nursing home inspectors play in our society comes from Tennessee.  After fielding complaints relating to poor patient care and conducting an annual survey, inspectors found multiple conditions at the Life Care Center of Chattanooga that posed a risk to patient safety.  During the June / July inspections, inspectors (also referred to as surveyors) discovered safety violations in the following areas:

  • Administration
  • Performance Improvement
  • Physician Services
  • Nursing Services
  • Medical Records
  • Pharmaceutical Services

The conditions discovered by inspectors resulted in daily penalties, appointment of a special monitor at the facility, and suspension of new patients.  Additionally, a copy of the order from the Tennessee Commissioner of Health that articulated the dangerous conditions and the resulting state and federal actions was posted on the entrance to the facility.

Nursing homes are heavily regulated by federal and state standards, not to make life more complicated for nursing staff, but because the regulations are crucial to provide quality patient care.  If we did not have nursing home inspectors out and about in these nursing homes, who would ensure that the regulations are complied with and everything is done to protect our vulnerable seniors?

Read more about the suspension of new patient admissions at Life Care Center of Chattanooga here.

For laws related to Tennessee nursing homes, look here.

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