A report to be issued in late April 2007 by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) states that the Department of Health and Human Services does not hold nursing homes with a long history of bad care of residents accountable. Nursing homes that have a history of harming residents often do not face sanctions, and when they are sanctioned the Bush Administration gives them a grace period in which to correct the problem, according to an article in the New York Times that quotes the report. The immediate sanctions of the nursing homes that are available to the federal government frequently are not “immediate” because a grace period allows the nursing home to escape.
Further, when the nursing homes are fined for inadequate or poor care of residents, the fines are typically so small that the nursing homes view them as a “cost of doing business” according the the GAO report. According to the New York Times article, “about 1.5 million poeple live in the nation’s 16,400 nursing homes on any given day.”
When attempting to find a nursing home for a loved one, this GAO report further validates the importance of conducting as much research as possible about the nursing home and its history of compliance, citations, and any legal actions against the home in the recent past as a result of poor care or the harming of residents.