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California Nursing Homes Got Insider Access to Newsom’s Health Care Regulators. Here’s How

From the 7/2/20 Sacramento Bee:

On April 9, California nursing homes were already in a state of crisis. Employees were staying home, fearing for their safety without proper protection. Facilities reported deaths daily.

At 12:30 p.m. that day, the chief advocate for California’s nursing home industry dispatched an email to officials at the California Department of Public Health. The email listed seven urgent concerns facing nursing homes, including child care and housing for workers.

The most detailed priority on the list: “The continuing bleed of $$$ to respond to COVID.”

“We’ve been working … on getting rate increases but making that happen sooner than later will help,” the industry advocate wrote.

Increased protective equipment for staff members and testing were the final items on the list.

Those priorities came from Craig Cornett, the CEO of the California Association of Health Facilities, an industry group representing 80 percent of the nursing homes in the state.

Cornett’s email to the Department of Public Health, among a flurry he sent in the early weeks of the pandemic, highlights how one industry official gained open-door access to the department that regulates his clients, according to emails and documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee through a public records request.

Cornett asked for standards to be relaxed and regulations to be waived. He recommended that COVID-19 patients be housed by one of his for-profit clients — a move that would make them eligible for higher federal payments. He swapped ideas with state officials about moving patients to a hospital ship and solicited their expertise on antibody testing.

All of this came while Cornett and a host of industry officials were asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to grant nursing homes immunity from criminal prosecution and make it harder to sue when residents get sick or die. (Newsom has yet to endorse or reject the idea.)

Read the rest of the article at the Sacramento Bee website.

CDPH logo

CA Dept of Public Health to Require Inspectors to “Adopt” a Nursing Home & Serve as Consultants

Last week – while the staggering death toll for California nursing home residents from COVID-19 surpassed 2,000 – a top official at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) testified at separate Assembly and Senate oversight hearings on its plan to reform nursing home oversight.

Inconceivably, the central feature of CDPH’s plan is to turn hundreds of its nursing home inspectors into free, part-time consultants to the very same nursing homes they are required to inspect and regulate. It’s calling this plan the “Adopt a SNF Model.”

CDPH presented its plan at a June 9 hearing by the Assembly Committees on Health and Aging & Long-Term Care and a June 10 hearing by the Senate Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response. The hearings examined what went wrong in California skilled nursing facilities and with the State’s response and what lessons have been learned.

Read the rest of the article on the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform website

Stimulus check photo

Nursing Homes Warned Against Seizing Stimulus Checks From Residents

Carole Herman from FATE writes:

Nursing homes are coming under more scrutiny during the Covid-19 pandemic, this time for complaints about efforts to confiscate coronavirus stimulus checks as published by The Hill today 6/11/20.

State and federal authorities have recently notified the public about complaints of long-term care facilities demanding residents on Medicaid turn over their relief payments. Those alerts prompted prominent lawmakers to lean on various federal agencies urging them to investigate the issue and make it clear to facilities that they are not entitled to the checks. Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin told the Hill…”we have provisions that protect the elderly.” She urged the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to exercise its oversight authority to protect residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The main message is that the money belongs to the resident and that is the word the government wants to get out loud and clear. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement that his office received complaints concerning this issue. Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum issued a similar statement that she has had complaints and stated “These stimulus checks are the property of the residents and must be returned to them.” It is unclear how many nursing homes have tried to take the residents’ checks.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has added its own warning to nursing homes that any attempts to confiscate resident stimulus checks could result in federal enforcement actions.

Nursing home resident in wheelchair

Govt Releases Names of 34 Under-Performing Nursing Homes in California

AP News reported in June 2019, that the federal government has released a list of nearly 400 facilities nationwide that have “persistent record of poor care” including serious ongoing health, safety or sanitary problems. According to the April 2019 list, 22 of those facilities are in California.

“We’ve got to make sure any family member or any potential resident of a nursing home can get this information, not only ahead of time but on an ongoing basis,” said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who along with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., issued the report.

The CA nursing homes on the list are:

    Alexandria Care Center
    Beverly West Healthcare
    Corona Post Acute
    Del Rio Gardens Care Center
    Downey Community Health Center
    Fircrest Convalescent Hospital
    Fortuna Rehabilitation and Wellness Center
    Good Shepherd Health Care Ctr Of Santa Monica
    Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center
    Kingston Healthcare Center
    La Mariposa Care And Rehabilitation Center
    Lake Forest Nursing Center
    Lakeview Terrace
    Lakewood Healthcare Center
    Lancaster Health Care Center
    Las Flores Convalescent Hospital
    Long Beach Healthcare Center
    Merritt Manor Convalescent Hospital
    Millbrae Skilled Care
    Olympia Convalescent Hospital
    Riverside Heights Healthcare Center
    Riverside Postacute Care
    Royal Palms Post Acute
    San Fernando Postacute Hospital
    Santa Anita Convalescent Hosp
    Shadowbrook Post Acute
    Sky Harbor Care Center
    Terracina Post Acute
    Wellsprings Post Acute Center
    Windsor Gardens Convalescent Center of Long Beach
    Windsor Palms Care Center of Artesia
    Willows Center
    Woodland Care Center
    Yuba Skilled Nursing Center

To read the article click here.