California, and Los Angeles in particular, has a serious problem with the treatment of its elderly population. A new agreement between Los Angeles County and the state hopes to address the deficiencies in the county’s nursing homes, which should help protect its vulnerable population of older adults.
L.A.’s History of Mistreatment & Abuse
Los Angeles County is the only county in the state to handle its own nursing home inspections and complaint investigations. Unfortunately, Los Angeles County is also lagging far behind other counties in actually performing these duties.
According to statistics released by the state of California, Los Angeles County takes the longest time to investigate reports of complaints and abuse. On average, it takes the county 352 days to complete an investigation, almost 100 days more than it takes the next lowest-performing county.
In addition, the county currently has backlog of over 10,000 complaint investigations, many of which have been open for over two years.
County officials blame this state of affairs on too few investigators and not enough funding from the state. However, the county recently announced a new contract with the state which hopes to address the backlog and the county’s investigation time.
New Contract Offers Hope
Under the new contract, the county’s budget for its nursing home investigation program will be boosted from $26 million to $41 million. The county will hire 70 new nursing home inspectors, which should allow it to perform investigations in a timelier manner.
In addition, the county’s role in the nursing home investigation process will be scaled back. The state will take over some duties, like the initial reviews of new nursing home locations, in order to give the county officials more time and resources to devote to other areas.
This new contract comes at an opportune time for senior citizens. The population of elderly Californians is expected to experience huge growth as the baby boomer population ages. According to statistics from the Office of the Attorney General, the state’s elderly population is expected to double from its year 2000 numbers by the year 2025. In addition, the population of those aged 85 and older is also expected to double by the year 2030.
The new investigators and additional budget should help California reduce the number of failing nursing home facilities, and will hopefully better address allegations of abuse and neglect. In California, as many as one in five nursing homes do not meet state standards, and at least one in three nursing home patients are abused or neglected nationwide.
Elderly, infirm, or disabled patients are the most vulnerable people in the state. When nursing home residents are abused or neglected, the health care providers who mistreated them can be liable to that person and his or her family in medical malpractice or elder abuse lawsuits.
At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., we work hard to help people injured by malpractice or abuse, and pride ourselves on holding wrongdoers responsible for their actions. Our compassionate and experienced staff of legal and medical professionals will evaluate your family’s nursing home abuse or malpractice case, and we will help you understand your family’s rights.
For a free consultation with a Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyer, call (310) 289-2600 or use our online contact form to have your case reviewed today.