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Consumer Confidential: Report exposes nursing home abuses

David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

All Americans should be deeply troubled by news that hundreds of nursing homes with a "persistent record of poor care" were kept secret by government authorities.

They should be equally alarmed that, although the Trump administration says it really cares about this issue, the reality is that it has relaxed oversight of the industry, potentially placing seniors in jeopardy.

It's a matter that goes way beyond the estimated 1.3 million people now in nursing homes. As the median age of the U.S. population steadily rises, more and more of us will be turning to senior care facilities for aging parents and, eventually, ourselves.

"You'd like to think you could expect high-quality care, but that's not the case," said Eric Carlson, an attorney with Justice in Aging, a nonprofit organization focused on senior poverty.

"People should be worried -- not sky-is-falling worried, but I-need-to-do-my-homework worried," he told me. "You can't take anything for granted."

A report issued last week by Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey (a Democrat) and Patrick J. Toomey (a Republican) listed nearly 400 nursing homes that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had cited for substandard care but had never named publicly.

 

Twenty-eight such nursing homes are in California, many in the Southland. I reached out to a few of them.

Some, such as Long Beach Healthcare Center, took a message but never got back to me. Others, such as Santa Anita Convalescent Hospital, offered a brisk "no comment" and hung up.

You can see the full list in the report, "Uncovering Poor Care in America's Nursing Homes."

"In such facilities, some residents have experienced outright neglect, such as going without proper nutrition or languishing in filthy conditions," the report says. "Some older adults and people with disabilities have even experienced physical abuse, sexual assault and premature death."

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