Hawaii state lawmakers heard proposals for additional state funding to oversee long-term care facilities before the legislative session ended.
The Civil Beat reported government agencies were denied or received less than desired funding for long-term care in the upcoming fiscal year budget, though the agencies are still expected to enforce state laws. It’s not clear how this can, or will, be done.
Here’s where the agencies stand:
John McDermont will continue to serve as the state’s only full-time long-term care ombudsman, the fewest of any state. He sought $300,000 to hire three ombudsman specialists. The National Institute for Medicine recommends one ombudsman for every 2,000 residents. Hawaii has more than 12,300 residents living in 1,700 long-term facilities across the islands. McDermott would have to inspect 48 care homes a day to meet the requirements for his office.
The Office of Health Care Assurance, which licenses and oversees a range of long-term care facilities, received three of the seven nurse positions Gov. David Ige had included in his administration’s budget proposal. Those positions are said to improve licensing inspections for facilities covered under Medicare. The office was denied a request for $22,466 for a clerical worker to post care facility inspection reports online. The office has struggled to comply with the requirement ever since the mandate was enacted, and posting has been sporadic. Online posting is a federal requirement for nursing homes.
Lawmakers added provisions requiring require the Health Department to submit annual reports over the next three years that includes: the number of announced and unannounced visits to state-licensed or state-certified care facilities; the number of unannounced inspections for follow-up visits, visits to confirm corrections or deficiencies or visits to investigate complaints or suspicions of abuse or neglect; and general outcomes and corrective actions taken by the department as a result of those visits and investigations.
In the 11th hour, lawmakers postponed the switch from announced to unannounced care home inspections from this year until July 1, 2019.
Read more here.