Unmasked: How California’s Largest Nursing Home Chains Perform
by Marjie Lundstrom and Phillip Reese, The Sacramento Bee
[Part 1 of 3]
One nursing home chain operating in California racked up abuse complaints last year at a pace seven times the statewide rate.
A large competitor placed one in every 15 of its long-term residents in restraints.
Still another corporate giant whose nursing homes dominate the Sacramento region experienced high nursing staff turnover at 90 percent of its facilities.
If you’re a consumer anguishing over the placement of a loved one needing full-time nursing, how would you know this?
The short answer: You wouldn’t.
As the population ages, and more families face the daunting task of choosing long-term care, consumers remain largely in the dark about the ownership of many California nursing homes – and their track records.
While industry officials contend they are intensely regulated by both the state and federal government, no single agency routinely evaluates nursing-home chains to gauge the overall care provided by their facilities.
Data are available for individual nursing homes, as federal, state and nonprofit groups keep records that chronicle staffing levels, bedsore rates and use of antipsychotic drugs, among many issues. But in California, the agency charged with overseeing these skilled-nursing facilities, the Department of Public Health, makes no effort to measure quality of care throughout a chain, or determine whether corporate policies and practices are contributing to any patterns.