Report: Ohio among U.S. states with worst records for keeping up with nursing home inspections

CLEVELAND (AP) — A newspaper reports that Ohio is among the U.S. states with the worst records for keeping up with nursing home inspections.

The Plain Dealer of Cleveland (http://bit.ly/2oiiwsv ) cites records it obtained showing that a key deadline for inspecting nursing homes hasn’t been met since fiscal year 2011. It says Ohio is the fourth-worst state nationally in inspection intervals. Advocates say inspectors offer important checks on the industry, detecting patient care issues.

The agency that provides inspectors is understaffed. The newspaper reported Sunday that Ohio has one inspector for every six nursing homes, while nearby states Michigan, Kentucky and Illinois have one for every four facilities.

The Ohio Department of Health says officials are working hard to improve time intervals and that there has been progress in the last two years.

The state’s 153 inspectors, also known as surveyors, examine Ohio’s 960 nursing homes, investigating more than 2,000 complaints a year. They also review more than 600 assisted-living centers.

Ohio’s average interval between nursing home inspections was 13.8 months last year, an improvement over 14.4 months in 2015.

“If you aren’t getting inspectors in there every year to check on what’s going on, then you have a problem,” said Richard Mollott, executive director of the New York-based Long Term Care Community Coalition.

“It’s a chronic situation,” said Peter Van Runkle, executive director of the Ohio Health Care Association. “The state inspectors are understaffed.”

The newspaper said low pay and high turnover perpetuate the under-staffing.

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