State Auditor calling on DPH to enhance oversight of nursing home neglect

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BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts may not be doing enough to help nursing home patients who are abused and neglected, according to a new state report.

State Auditor Suzanne Bump is calling on DPH to increase its oversight of abuse, neglect, and mistreatment of patients at nursing homes.

A recent audit found that DPH employees in charge of investigating allegations of abuse and neglect at nursing homes did not do so within the required time frame.

Bump said out of the 200 cases they examined, 148 of them were not reviewed within 10 days required by law.

It also took DPH an average of 41 days to begin “onsite investigations,” something that’s supposed to be done within 2 days.

DPH told 22News the department disagrees with the report’s findings.

“DPH implemented multiple quality assurance measures to support the agency’s critical work of ensuring that long-term care residents receive safe, effective, and high-quality care,” a department spokesperson said.

They’ve hired additional Complaint Unit staff as a result of a recent increase in funding initiated by the Baker Administration.

DPH also told 22News, that the most concerning and dangerous cases were not included in this audit, and 99.5 percent of intake cases that required onsite investigations during the audit time period were investigated as required.

22News also discovered complaints at nursing homes have increased over the years. There were Nearly 4,000 more complaints in fiscal year 2017, compared to fiscal year 2015.

The 22News I-Team investigated nursing home abuse. You can read that story here.

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