Reforms proposed by Ombudsman’s office

The Hartford Courant has an article about proposed reforms in nursing homes by the Connecticut Ombudsman’s office.  I wish the South Carolina Ombudsman’s office would play a proactive role in protecting resident’s care and preventing neglect.  Below is a summary of the article.

Connecticut’s long-term care ombudsman is proposing reforms in oversight that would protect residents who complain about poor care from retaliation and encourage state agencies to monitor and evaluate the performance of chains, rather than just individual homes.

The program outlined a dozen reforms, including protections for residents who complain about poor care such as preventing nursing homes from issuing involuntary discharges to people who file complaints for at least a year following the complaint.

The ombudsman’s office also wants the Department of Public Health to impose “significant sanctions” when patient-care deficiencies result in death, and to weigh “common ownership and management” as a factor in imposing penalties against corporate operators.

The recommendations were prompted by revelations about the troubled record of one of the state’s largest nursing-home chains, Haven Healthcare, which filed for bankruptcy in November and faces a federal fraud investigation. Some of the chain’s 15 Connecticut homes had escaped severe sanctions despite repeated citations for serious patient-care deficiencies resulting in death. The chain also defaulted on millions of dollars in bills for supplies and services, while its owner used corporate assets for personal profit.

Democratic state senators proposed strengthening state oversight of nursing homes and boosting staff levels.

The ombudsman’s office wants to require more financial “transparency” from nursing-home corporations, including disclosures of detailed information about related business entities. Owners shield excessive profits by diverting money to related ventures without detailing those transactions.

Other proposals call on the state to more carefully review the public-health and financial records of any new owners or managers of nursing homes or assisted-living facilities, and for “improved communication” among state agencies charged with overseeing elderly care.