Is a New California Nursing Home Website Doing More Harm Than Good?

parker-byrd-139348-copy-300x200For anyone in Encinitas who is thinking about long-term care and skilled nursing facilities, it is important to do a substantial amount of background research before selecting a facility in order to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect. A new website from the state of California, “Cal Health Find,” was designed to make this research easier, allowing potential patients and their families to compare nursing homes and to consider safety ratings. However, according to a recent report in California Healthline, the website may be doing more harm than good. Nursing home advocates in California “are calling on the state to take it down,” describing the website as “incomplete, inaccurate, and a huge step in the wrong direction.”

Learning More About Cal Health Find and Potential Problems with the Website

The California Department of Public Health launched Cal Health Find to “help people compare the quality of nursing homes and other health care facilities.” The site was designed as a replacement for the Health Facilities Consumer Information System provided by the state, and it was supposed to be more user-friendly. The state invested about $437,000 to build and to operate the new website. What are some of the additions the state made to make it easier for Encinitas residents to learn about histories of nursing home abuse or neglect at certain facilities?

For example, Cal Health Find was developed so that families in the state could compare three different nursing homes at a time, and it also contains language translation tools for seniors and their families for whom English is not a first language. Moreover, the website takes into account disabilities and access, complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in a way that the earlier website had not.

Significant Omissions in Cal Health Find Could Cost Seniors Their Lives

The website sounds good, right? What are the problems that are leading advocates to say it should be taken down as soon as possible? According to California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), “those extras are of little use because the content itself is wrong.” CANHR says that the number of complaints listed for certain nursing homes simply is wrong, and that consumers are unable to obtain inspection reports for those facilities that were filed prior to 2016. As such, a problematic skilled nursing facility could look like a good option to families when it fact it has a long history of health and safety complaints.

According to a spokesperson for CANHR, “choosing the right nursing homes can be a life-and-death decision.” That spokesperson emphasized that a website like Cal Health Find “should help them avoid places that are likely to neglect them,” yet with the current problems on the site, “it will do the opposite.”

The California Department of Public Health has acknowledged significant problems with Cal Health Find, and according to a spokesperson, “has already implemented a correction plan.” It will not remove the site while it corrects the errors.

Discuss Your Case with an Encinitas Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns about your elderly loved one’s safety, an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Encinitas can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm to speak with an advocate today.

See Related Blog Posts:

Rising Nursing Home Evictions Raise Concerns About Elder Abuse

How Do Juries Decide Nursing Home Neglect Cases in Escondido?

(image courtesy of Parker Byrd)