The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ decision to order an audit of the health department’s supervision of county nursing home facilities is the right action to take.
The department’s decision to allow managers to close complaints related to the treatment of elderly or disabled residents at these facilities without first conducting an investigation is mind boggling, not to mention unconscionable.
Clearing the department’s backlog by closing cases rather than investigating abuse claims, fails to protect some of our most vulnerable residents and could lead to more abusive practices and even death at the hands of workers who have little to fear from county authorities.
None of us knows if we will have to spend our last days in the care of a nursing home, and the thought that those who care for us is entrusted to negligent or abusive care givers should raise alarms.
We applaud the Board of Supervisor’s decision to take a deeper look into why the backlog exists in the first place, and steps needed to remedy this troubling situation.
Just as the Department of Children ‘s Services had to be audited after the death of a young boy who wasn’t removed from an obviously dangerous situation, so too should those responsible for overseeing the care of elderly and disabled patients be subjected to closer scrutiny to ensure wrong doing is not being overlooked or covered up.
County health director Dr. Jonathan Fielding may feel that all cases were adequately reviewed, even though there is in many cases insufficient documentation to support his assertion, leaving us unconvinced.
How is anyone supposed to know if this is true if there is no documentation?