LA could receive $15 million to improve nursing home inspections

A proposed contract between California and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health could result in $15 million in additional funding to improve oversight and delays in nursing home investigations.

The proposal comes after reports documented L.A. County's slow response to complaints of neglect and poor conditions in nursing homes, and requests that inspectors cut short nursing home investigations, which drew national attention. The contract would also add 70 new staff members to the L.A. County Department of Public Health, and give the state responsibility for licensing all new nursing facilities.

According to the state Department of Public Health, L.A. County had 2,731 open complaints against nursing homes as of March 2015. On average each case took 352 days to finish, roughly 100 days longer than the state average.

L.A. County argued that the 15% of the state funding allocation it receives is insufficient, since a third of the state's nursing home facilities fall under its jurisdiction. But nursing home advocates believe adding more funding won't be the solution to the county's problems.

“The state shouldn't give the county any new money until they have accountability measures in place,” Michael Connors, an advocate with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, told Kaiser Health News. “We haven't seen any signs that things are getting better.”

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the proposed contract Tuesday before it goes to the state for approval. If it is approved, the three-year contract would start on July 1.