Calif. Lawmakers Reject Plan Curbing Nursing Home, Hospital Checks

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Last week, Assembly and Senate budget subcommittees voted down a budget proposal by the state Health and Human Services Agency that would have cut a mandate for hospital and nursing home inspectors to perform unannounced inspections to monitor compliance with patient safety laws, California Watch reports.

Details of Budget Proposal

The budget proposal would have eliminated 25 nursing home inspector positions and reduced hospital and nursing home fees that go toward enforcing patient safety laws.

The California Medical Association said the measure also would have removed the requirement that only licensed physicians, nurses or "persons experienced in hospital administration and sanitary inspections" conduct hospital inspections.

A Senate committee analysis of the proposal found that its implementation would end checks on laws that require physicians to approve the use of physical restraints on patients.

According to California Watch, the proposal also would have lifted requirements that the state examine the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes.

Opposition to Proposal

CMA opposed the measure, along with the United Nurses Association of California and Disability Rights California.

During a hearing last week, advocates for nursing home patients criticized the proposal. Sylvia Taylor-Stein, executive director of Long Term Care Services in Ventura County, said ending inspections to check compliance with state law would "set us back 30 years of reform." She added, "To be doing this, we would be going so far back, we would be abandoning the residents who depend on us."

The California Hospital Association has not taken a position on the proposal, according to a spokesperson.

Some Concerned Proposal Will Resurface

Patient safety advocates are concerned that the proposal will return. Ken August -- spokesperson for the Department of Public Health, which inspects health care facilities -- said state officials have not decided whether they want to continue pursuing the proposal (Jewett, California Watch, 5/15).


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