LA County supervisor calls for more coronavirus regulations for nursing facilities

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas says skilled nursing facilities have long been a public health trouble spot.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Recent numbers show slightly more than half of Los Angeles County's coronavirus deaths happened in nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities.

Now, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas wants to crack down on the facilities and track the number of infections.

There are some 400 nursing homes in L.A. County, close to 5,000 nursing home residents and 3,000 staff have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

"This industry has to understand that we will not accept these conditions a day longer," Ridley-Thomas said.

Ridley-Thomas said skilled nursing facilities have long been a public health trouble spot.

Most CA nursing homes with COVID-19 cases were cited for infectious disease issues, data show
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About 95% of the California nursing homes that are now dealing with COVID-19 were cited in the past for flaws in their plans to control infections, an ABC7 analysis shows.

The county took over supervision of the facilities in 2014, citing poor oversight by the state of California, but the state never gave the county adequate funding for the takeover. So, under county control, the backlog of investigations grew from 3,000 to 5,000.

The supervisor has introduced a motion calling for the creation of an online dashboard to allow the public to see each facility's number of infections, testing and compliance with worker and patient protection rules.

"The public has a right to know and the public has a right to expect that these frail and elderly individuals are treated well," Ridley-Thomas said.

The motion also calls for beefing up staffing for enforcement and inspections, and the appointment of an inspector general to oversee it all and recommend changes to make things better.

"We cannot afford to have people dying at the rate that they are in these facilities," Ridley-Thomas said.

The heightened inspections and enforcement would carry penalties, from fines to criminal charges for the worst violators.
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