I appreciate the article published March 22 regarding nursing home outbreaks. The Covid-19 outbreak presents opportunity for Washington’s governor and Legislature to significantly change how this state protects its most vulnerable.
We have a long-documented history of serious issues related to protecting children (education, abuse and neglect), those with mental illness (state psychiatric hospital) including addiction, those with significant disabilities residing in state institutions, those who are homeless, and those in the correction system.
Those in our nursing homes have been ignored as well. I have taken the opportunity to review the average number of health citations, on Medicare.gov, for nursing homes in 15 states, including Washington; states similar and different in population, average age, tax burden and political affiliation. The average number of citations nationally is eight. Averages for 14 states range from 3.5 to 12.8; 11 are below 10. Washington’s is 20.4. The number for the Life Care Center is 18, more than double the national average.
It is time, in my opinion, for the governor and Legislature to explain why there is so little attention and so few resources committed to protecting our most vulnerable citizens. What specific plans are in place to make meaningful change? This state spends billions and has the ability to provide for better oversight. We must demand they commit sufficient resources to protect our vulnerable family members and neighbors. State leadership needs to be held accountable or be replaced. Now is the time to act; all eyes are once again on yet another problem.