Baltimore Sun Article – Assisted living reviews faulted
Assisted living reviews faulted
Audit finds state did only a quarter of required facility inspections last year
By Greg Garland | Sun reporter
August 18, 2007
About three-quarters of Maryland’s roughly 1,500 licensed “assisted-living facilities” for the elderly went unchecked by regulators despite a state law that requires annual inspections, according to a legislative audit released yesterday.
“It is something Maryland should be ashamed of,” said Kate Ricks, chairwoman of Voices for Quality Care, a nonprofit group that advocates for the elderly. She said she is appalled that Maryland did only a fraction of the required annual inspections during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006.
She faulted the General Assembly for failing to appropriate enough money to run the office that is charged with inspecting assisted-living facilities. The elderly depend on state regulators to monitor conditions inside assisted-living centers to ensure that residents are being cared for safely and humanely, she said.
Assisted-living centers differ from nursing homes in that they offer a smaller and more homelike setting, and nursing home residents tend to have more acute medical needs. Most of those in assisted-living centers pay privately; most nursing home care is billed to federal Medicare or Medicaid programs.
In their report, legislative auditors wrote: “State law requires that these facilities be inspected at least annually.”