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Ohio Ombudsmen are Interviewed on Holding Nursing Homes Accountable

February 14, 2020

In the final article of a three part series about nursing home quality in Northeast Ohio, Mahoning Matters interviewed Ohio Ombudsmen on holding nursing homes accountable after a weeks-long review of area nursing home inspection reports has raised questions about the accountability measures that keep homes up to standard. John Saulitis, Director of the Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, discussed the surge in nursing home complaints over the last few years and how his program goes about investigating and solving these problems. The article states that the number of reported health and safety deficiencies at Ohio nursing homes nearly doubled between 2014 and 2018. In addition, Beverley Laubert, the Ohio State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, explained how the enforcement system works and that closures are the last resort. She said the department has expressed concern that lower-level fines don’t incentivize a facility to fix the issue. She recalled one case in which her office advocated for a resident who was wrongfully forced to leave a nursing home. Administrators said, “We’ll just pay the fine … we’re not taking him back,” she recalled. Ultimately the resident was allowed to return and the facility still paid a $15,000 fine, she said. To combat nursing home problems, new legislation has been proposed in the Ohio House and Senate that would solidify a resident’s right to install a camera to monitor care.

To read the additional two articles in the series, click here and hereRead the full article »