GAO Faults State Nursing Home Inspections

The woes of nursing homes and, more importantly, those in their care continue.

SHARE

The woes of nursing homes and, more importantly, those in their care continue. Already facing a major reform bill in Congress that has divided the industry, nursing homes came under fire this afternoon in a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO review of state-level nursing home inspections found that inspectors regularly overlooked major code violations in the care facilities. In reviews conducted from 2002 to 2007, federal inspectors found that their state-level counterparts missed violations of the gravest nature—those that could put a nursing home resident in immediate jeopardy and inflict actual harm—15 percent of the time. The potential for less serious harm was found in 70 percent of the federal reviews.

The report was requested by the Senate's Special Committee on Aging, which has been spearheading reform in the nursing home industry. The report, filed to the committee today, concludes that "poor quality of care—worsening pressure sores or untreated weight loss—in a small but unacceptably high number of nursing homes continues to harm residents or place them at risk of death or serious injury."

—Bret Schulte