November 11, 2020
For most people, the health debacle that has occurred in Los Angeles County’s skilled nursing facilities since the COVID-19 pandemic started is a dangerous combination of calamities that includes a slow response, lax oversight, and profits supplanting quality care. And when it comes to pointing out culprits, we need to start with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LAC DPH), the responsible agency for monitoring these facilities.
By May, many facilities’ condition had become so critical that the L.A. County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to assign a General Inspector to supervise the county’s more than 300 nursing home facilities and make improvement suggestions. But it was not until October 7th that the General Inspector and Auditor-Controller each released their initial report describing their ongoing investigation into skilled nursing homes.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas called it a crucial first step towards amending operations at these centers, which have accounted for about 42% of Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 fatalities. “We still have a lot of work to do, but the first report provides us with a starting point for tackling deeply-entrenched problems that have plagued nursing homes for decades,” the supervisor said.
However, experts on the subject urge caution regarding the state’s intervention due to the CDPH’s troubled legacy of protecting California’s nursing home residents. A 2018 audit found that the state did not “adequately address ongoing deficiencies related to the care quality that nursing facilities provide.” California also has one of the highest complaint rates – per 1,000 nursing home residents in the country.
Additionally, since the pandemic started, the CDPH has come under fire for failing to offer vital testing for the state’s inspectors and for validating less than 3% of complaints made during the first four months of the pandemic, a marked drop from the same period two years before – leading experts to fear lax oversight.
Here at Gharibian Law, we recognize coronavirus is a merciless pathogen that has brought undefinable suffering to the world. Still, that fact should not be used to shield nursing homes from their accountability. Expecting these facilities to ____ themselves without any oversight will certainly doom more of our seniors.
If you or someone you love is between a possible Medical Malpractice case or Nursing Home Abuse, we invite you to have a legal consultation to see if we can help you with your issue. Contact us at 888-288-0091 or through our website.