California Department of Public Health’s cover-up, misconduct in nursing home death case to be exposed by Elder Abuse Exposed.com
As visitors of Elder Abuse Exposed.com know, U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), a staunch and longtime advocate of elder abuse victims in nursing homes, has exposed the dirty secret about the corrupted and broken nursing home oversight and enforcement system in California and throughout the U.S. This system “has been seriously corrupted” by an intertwined, “unspoken political presence” and “high-level state bureaucrats” and “state lawmakers acting on behalf of facility administrators” who pressure state nursing home inspectors to overlook or systematically downgrade even high-level citations and quality-of-care deficiencies, said Senator Grassley. He revealed the disturbing truth about the nursing home inspection and complaint investigation process in his July 7, 2004 letter to Mark McClellan, past administrator for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Unfortunately, this “seriously corrupted” and “broken” nursing home oversight and enforcement system, which deliberately understates and covers up serious care problems and criminal elder abuse in nursing homes, has continued unabated over the years despite:
- More than 20 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports on nursing home quality from 1998 to 2012, including GAO reports in 2008 and 2009 specifically regarding state nursing home inspectors’ “continued understatement of serious care problems.”
- Many hearings in the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging on the quality of care in U.S. nursing homes, including Betrayal: The Quality of Care in California Nursing Homes (PDF, 20.2 MB, opens new window), which was led by then-chairman of the Aging Committee, Senator Grassley, on July 27 and 28, 1998.
- Numerous reports by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) detailing persistently deficient oversight of nursing homes and inadequate enforcement of laws by state inspectors, including California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Licensing and Certification Program inspectors.
In the coming days, we will be publishing on this blog a series of articles in which we will respond to two recent OIG reports focusing on CDPH’s deficient oversight of California nursing homes. The two OIG reports are the September 21, 2011 Unidentified and Unreported Federal Deficiencies in California’s Complaint Surveys of Nursing Homes Participating in the Medicare and Medicaid Programs and the February 27, 2012 Federal Survey Requirements Not Always Met for Three California Nursing Homes Participating in the Medicare and Medicaid Programs.
To better illustrate California Department of Public Health’s often poor oversight of nursing homes, we will detail CDPH’s mishandling of an ongoing elder abuse case involving the video-recorded neglect and death of an unfortunate elderly man last year in a Los Angeles-area nursing home. We want to expose the case because it serves as a perfect example of the public corruption, bias, cover-up of neglect, and protection of politically connected nursing homes that Senator Grassley publicized in 2004.
After a California Department of Justice (DOJ) special agent working for Attorney General Kamala Harris’ Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (BMFEA) concluded last year that “the videotape documents a series of gross lapses in patient care that constitute neglect of an elder,” the CDPH case made its way through CDPH’s appeals process. The case is now under final review by the appeals unit of CDPH’s deputy director, Debby Rogers, RN, MS, FAEN, who will later make a final determination on the appeal.
In the interest of government openness and transparency, which President Barack Obama said “will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government,” we will expose details of CDPH officials who worked together to downgrade and cover up the video-recorded “series of gross lapses in patient care” and elder neglect that the DOJ BMFEA special agent found in this case. We will also include hard evidence documenting the flagrant bias, official misconduct, and violations of laws by supervisors and high-level officials in CDPH’s Licensing and Certification Program.
The dirty secret about California Department of Public Health’s corrupted and broken nursing home oversight and enforcement system needs to be exposed to the light of day. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said in his article “What Publicity Can Do,” in Harper’s Weekly for December 20, 1913, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”
What do you think about California Department of Public Health’s nursing home oversight and enforcement system? Please share your thoughts below this article!
If you take a moment of your valuable time to leave a relevant, non-spam comment below, we will reward you by telling Google and other search engines to crawl and follow your outgoing hyperlink pointing to your website.