Image of male nurse pushing senior woman in a wheelchair in nursing facility
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A new Department of Justice initiative is taking aim at the nation’s “worst nursing homes” when it comes to care quality. 

The department has already begun investigating 30 nursing facilities in nine states under the National Nursing Home Initiative, it said Tuesday. The program aims to better coordinate enhance civil and criminal efforts to pursue nursing homes that provide “grossly substandard care to their residents,” it said.

Among several factors being used to identify troubled facilities that could be subject to investigation under the program are: low staffing, poor hygiene and infection control policies, issues with food supply, and restrictions on medications for residents. 

“This national initiative will bring to justice those owners and operators who have profited at the expense of their residents, and help to ensure residents receive the care to which they are entitled,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement Tuesday. 

The initiative is not an “indictment on the assisted-living industry as a whole,” but rather “some really bad apples,” Barr added in speaking about the nursing home initiative.  

“There are many terrific facilities out there being managed by wonderful people with dedicated staff.  To be sure, most of them are great, delivering the care that their residents need and deserve. Unfortunately, there are some really bad apples who are abusing seniors, and we are set on figuring out exactly who they are, and putting an end to their cruelty,” he said while speaking Tuesday in Tampa, FL. 

The department also announced the launch of its National Elder Fraud Hotline, which will allow seniors to report potential fraud abuse schemes.