Reports on Nursing Home Fraud and Neglect Get Little Notice

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An advocacy group for nursing home reform released reports on widespread abuse and neglect at 14 sites, compiled over a two-year period by the state but generally not publicized.


California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) said the reports, based on inspections conducted by a multi-agency task force established by the state in 2000, have been shared with the Department of Public Health, but little subsequent action has resulted.


The task force, called Operation Guardians, was established by then-Attorney General Bill Lockyer to conduct surprise inspections of skilled nursing home facilities. It works with district attorneys, city attorneys, fire marshals, building code inspectors and medical specialists to send diverse teams of inspectors into facilities on a regular basis.


But CANHR Executive Director Pat McGinnis said on the group’s website that the reports are being underutilized. “Operation Guardians is an extremely valuable program, uncovering hundreds of instances of inexcusable elder abuse and neglect in our nursing homes. But its findings are completely unknown to nursing home residents and their families.”


The reports include: overmedication; poorly treated bed sores; overmedication with psychotropic drugs often administered without consent; medication mistakes leading to harmful overdoses; residents left in feces and urine for hours; filthy rooms, showers and kitchens; falsified medical records; and fraudulently billed services.


The reports are not easily available to the public, but CANHR obtained them through a Public Records Act request. The group published the list of facilities on its website, including links to the reports where available.


–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Operation Guardians Report

Attorney General’s Description of Operation Guardians (pdf)

Canhr Releases Attorney General Reports Showing Rampant Abuse and Neglect in Fourteen California Nursing Homes (Press release)

Aging in Place (National Council for Aging Care)

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