Long-term care facilities can be a sanctuary for the elderly and those needing specialized care. However, far too many of these homes haven’t been inspected recently to better ensure the well-being of their residents.
Shockingly, a quarter of Missouri’s nursing homes haven’t had a standard inspection for over two years, as updated federal records indicate. Federal regulations stipulate that states must conduct surprise inspections of these facilities at least every 15 months. These assessments are crucial, reviewing elements like medication procedures, resident rights and overall quality of life.
A deeper look into the data
Out of 510 nursing homes in Missouri, 126 haven’t been inspected in the past two years. This information comes from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s July release. ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative platform, further consolidates this data, revealing Missouri has one of the nation’s most enormous inspection backlogs. Missouri isn’t alone in this predicament, with Kentucky having an alarming 74% of its nursing homes waiting over two years for inspection.
The importance of regular check-ups
These inspections, while managed by state bodies, align with federal standards. With outdated or non-existent surveys, accurate information on facility quality becomes elusive. The recent ever-changing landscape has seen many facilities change hands, which affects their service quality.
Increased complaints lead to inspection delays
A spike in complaints is a significant cause of inspection delays. In the past four years, protests against these facilities rose by 36%, with severe complaints seeing a staggering 125% increase. In every state, long-term care ombudsmen serve as residents’ advocates. They often collaborate with state-funded inspectors, sometimes addressing concerns before they escalate to formal complaints. They’re the bridge between residents and the care homes, ensuring needs are met timely and adequately.
While these ombudsmen fulfill their visitation goals, the increasing complaints could be better handled with added staff. Sadly, this program’s proposed $2.35 million budget was vetoed, leaving these advocates stretched thin.
Unfortunately, this means that too many nursing home residents suffer harm due, in part, to lax regulatory oversight. Seeking legal guidance can help those who have suffered harm to secure rightful compensation but it would be ideal to stop preventable harm in its tracks by ensuring that facilities benefit from the oversight that is required and should be employed accordingly.