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California budget cuts could put nursing home patients at risk


California Gov. Jerry Brown recently proposed that the state budget be cut by more than $400 million this year. Critics of the move worry that the new budget cuts could cause a serious detriment to elderly patients, who may not get the reasonable standard of care they deserve because of funding cuts. Nursing home patient advocates spoke out against budget cuts during recent hearings, claiming that the protections necessary to ensure that the elderly receive proper care would be all but eliminated.

Nursing home neglect is a well-documented and serious problem in California, but critics of the new budget warn that the problem will likely become much worse if the cuts such as the elimination of 25 nurse-inspector positions are made. These nurse-inspectors are responsible for inspecting nursing homes and hospitals, ensuring that patients receive a reasonable standard of care. Without an adequate number of them there may be nothing to ensure that care providers remain in compliance with state and federal laws.

An investigation by the U.S. Health and Human Services inspector recently found that many California health inspectors are already out of compliance with federal standards, so further cuts could spell disaster for these institutions and the elderly who rely on them.

What this could mean is an increase in potential nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect, which is a horrifying thought for anyone with loved ones in a nursing home and those who rely on nursing homes themselves. A personal injury attorney with experience litigating nursing home neglect can be a great resource for those who are concerned about the level of care their loved ones may be receiving from a nursing home or care provider.

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, “Advocates fear patient care will suffer under state budget cuts,” Christina Jewett, May 15, 2012