For the more than 110,000 Californians currently residing in California’s more than 1,250 skilled nursing facilities, no bill this year is more important than AB 1502, carried by Democrat Congressman Al Muratsuchi of Torrance.
This is mainly because it aims to clean up the operation of nursing homes by requiring the state to investigate and regulate home owners and operators.
Among the houses, Muratsuchi says, there is a constant “turnover”. Unsubscribing can often mean that commitments are not kept.
Example: At a case conference last May, the director of a nursing home made a strong commitment and her staff to ask a 77-year-old resident every day if he wants to get out of bed.
The highly educated man, a longtime teacher of disabled children and adults, is now himself so disabled that he cannot get out of bed on his own.
The house kept its commitment for a few months, until there was a change of owners and a significant turnover in staff.
For the past several months, the individual has generally been kept in bed for about a week at a time, not even having access to the desktop computer which is his only means of communicating with the outside world due to his congenital deafness. The promises of the old house regime mean nothing today, making this man’s life unchallenging and lonelier than it should be.
Added to this are state rules that require all visitors to have tested negative for Covid within the past two days. Occasional or spontaneous visits from friends or relatives, once common, are therefore virtually impossible.
So most nursing home residents, despite an extensive facility-based vaccination program that reduced death rates seen at the start of the pandemic by 96%, are almost as isolated as they were at the start of the pandemic. COVID-19, when hardly any visitors were allowed – major damage to the mental health of residents and heartbreaking to loved ones outside.
The new law proposed by Muratsuchi aims to solve this problem by directly attacking a main source of problems: property. Nursing home owners with a history of repeated bankruptcies are not uncommon. Others don’t have the financial resources to keep homes running at a high level if Medicare or Medi-Cal payments are delayed.
According to the bill’s summary, the lives of thousands of people “are put at risk by the state Department of Public Health and its failure to prevent unfit owners from (taking over) skilled nursing facilities.”
The proposed fix would require anyone acquiring more than 5% ownership of a home to be thoroughly vetted more than 120 days before the takeover date, and rejected if they have a history of bankruptcy or crimes or lack of resources tax,
The bill doesn’t specify, but such regulations could also end another big problem for residents of nursing homes, who, according to federal law, are supposed to be asked at least four times a year. they wish to return to the surrounding community.
Most nursing homes, the federal government reported in 2016, “never or hardly ever ask” residents about it, even if they have the financial resources to go back outside.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such movement is “a basic civil right” if residents are able and willing.
Meanwhile, the Covid health requirements imposed on potential visitors do not apply to staff members, who studies have shown were the main source of infections that left nursing homes to account for 45% of all Covid deaths in the days before vaccination.
At the same time, the Covid safety requirements imposed on visitors to nursing homes are not imposed on visitors to comparable hospitals, even though many hospital patients are much more vulnerable than residents of nursing homes of the same age.
All of this means that nursing home residents today aren’t much better off and not much more accessible to friends and family than they were when the virus raged through homes unchecked.
Muratsuchi’s plan to tackle the problem from the top, ensuring the adequacy of home ownership with assistance, is currently the best hope for widespread lifestyle improvements in nursing homes. . Even if it doesn’t solve all the problems, it would be a big step in the right direction.
Email Thomas Elias at firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It,” is now available in a fourth edition hardcover. For more Elias columns visit www.californiafocus.net