As we have discussed previously, the Iowa Governor, as payback for substantial campaign contributions from nursing home lobbyists, has cut a third of all state inspectors of nursing homes. Denny Garland is the executive director of Luther Care Services in Des Moines, Iowa who recently wrote an article supporting the need for state inspectors.
"At Luther Park we have felt the sting of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. In some cases, I have had to begrudgingly agree with them, and, in others, I sure didn’t. It’s a credible agency with an important job to do. Cutting 10 of its nursing home inspectors is a really bad idea.
Things will fall through the cracks that shouldn’t, hurting both the care of residents and the perception about nursing homes. More problematic may be exhausted and harried surveyors handing out more severe deficiencies in an attempt to hold the line on quality of care as their visits are forced to be shorter and more infrequent. Worse would be the federal government getting involved if Iowa can’t provide adequate oversight of its homes. Nothing good can come out of cutting surveyors. More are needed, not fewer.
Because of the participation of the federal government in the cost of nursing home inspection, Iowa only will save $125,000 by letting 10 surveyors go. If this math is correct, for $250,000 we could add 10 inspectors rather than firing 10. If Iowa nursing homes would pay an annual fee of $8 per licensed bed, this cost could be covered.
Is Grandma’s care worth an extra 2 cents a day?