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LA County Board Approves Inspector-General To Oversee Nursing Homes

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of putting someone in charge of overseeing local nursing homes, which have accounted for more than half of all coronavirus deaths countywide.

Nursing Home Workers Hold Silent Vigils Across New York State During Pandemic
A nursing home worker participates in a vigil outside of the Downtown Brooklyn Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on May 21, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough in New York City. Nursing home workers are advocating for hazard pay, better access to personal protective equipment and respect from their employers, said a representative from the Healthcare Workers Union. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

The proposal, from Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Mark Ridley-Thomas, will create a position for an inspector-general who will be responsible for monitoring and oversight of skilled nursing facilities.

As of May 20, 1,033 residents at L.A. County's institutional settings have died of coronavirus, the vast majority of which lived in nursing homes. That accounts for 52% of all coronavirus deaths countywide.

Institutional settings include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, jails, prisons, homeless shelters, treatment centers, supportive living facilities, workplaces, restaurants, retailers and educational facilities.

"While some skilled nursing homes may be doing their best to respond to COVID-19, we've seen hundreds of deaths at these facilities, tragically exposing the urgent need for stronger oversight across the industry," Ridley-Thomas said in a statement last week. "Now, more than ever, we must act to address any questionable operations and substandard conditions in the facilities that care for some of our most vulnerable residents -- the elderly, the low-income and the disabled."

The inspector-general will evaluate nursing homes and come back with "recommendations on operational and programmatic changes necessary to improve the county's monitoring and oversight of these facilities, including legislative and regulatory recommendations aimed at improving operations within these facilities," the motion reads.

The motion also called for creating a public dashboard which would provide weekly statistics on the number of coronavirus cases at each nursing home and what changes those nursing homes are implementing to address those cases, such as personal protective equipment, staffing and separation of patients.

The inspector-general would report to the board. The motion calls for the position to be filled by July 1.

Los Angeles County announced 1,843 new coronavirus cases and 27 additional deaths Tuesday, as Gov. Newsom gave the green light for some counties to move into phase three of his reopening plan — but not L.A. Countywide, there were 47,875 confirmed cases and 2,145 deaths.

"We're not looking back, but we are looking into the unknown," Newsom said during a press conference where he announced barber shops and hair salons may begin opening again in certain counties that are meeting the requirements to move into phase three.

He also said more reopening specifications are coming soon, as it relates to summer camps, childcare facilities, and more.


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