As another variant enters the United States, COVID-19 represents a clear and continually present danger in nursing homes in California and throughout the country. However, recent revelations show that nursing home officials are equally culpable for the dangerous conditions that continue to put the elderly at risk of injuries, illnesses, and deaths.
With failures deemed “consistent” and “endemic,” countless nursing homes throughout the state have continued their operations with open complaints and accusations left uninvestigated. As each day goes on without studying and fixing the problems, the Golden State’s senior population remains unprotected, and nursing homes are not being held accountable.
A stunning discovery
A state Superior Court recently discovered that allegations and investigations of abuse submitted to the Department of Public Health have a backlog of more than 5,000 complaints that go back three years. Predictably, the bureaucracy is crying “COVID,” even though a good portion of those cases occurred before the worldwide health crisis. From January 2019 to March of 2020, pre-pandemic pending investigations doubled.
All of this occurs in the shadow of a new report published in the Journal of American Medical Association. Equity firms eying quick profits for their clients are snatching up more and more nursing homes. Currently, the number is at five percent of all facilities. Advocates are concerned that these consolidations will further erode the quality of care while boosting the costs related to emergency room care.
Until government officials are held accountable for their lack of action, nursing homes in California remain in a state of crisis. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc in the lives of those living in these facilities, not by choice but by necessity. Countless seniors have died while the state continues its failure in any type of response that would make them safer, providing the residents and their family members much-needed peace of mind.