LANSING, Mich. — In a letter submitted to state Auditor General Doug Ringler on Wednesday, Sen. Lana Theis requested a series of audits be conducted within the state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities to comprehensively review facilities’ inspections during and after COVID-19 lockdowns.
The request was prompted by the recent death of a resident of an adult foster care facility in Oceola Township — an 80-year-old female was found deceased fewer than 24 hours after having been reported missing.
“This was a tragic loss of life that should not have happened,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “Sadly, over the past year, we have seen far too many Michigan seniors die at long-term care facilities, and more must be done to ensure proper inspections at these facilities are conducted.”
Theis said that, as of August 2021, 60% of the state’s 435 nursing homes had gone without a standard survey inspection for nearly a year and a half. Those that have been surveyed were found to have wide-ranging compliance issues and severe deficiencies. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data indicate the average number of deficiencies in U.S. nursing homes is 8.3, while the reported average number found in Michigan facilities is much higher at 13.8.
Theis’ letter specifically requested the Office of the Auditor General investigate:
- The types of inspections currently mandated by the federal or state government for nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and adult foster care facilities;
- How many facilities had their mandated inspections delayed due to COVID-19 inspection policies issued by the Department of Health and Human Services;
- The number of facilities that have still not completed their inspections; and
- How many and what deficiencies are being found or reported once inspections are conducted.
“On behalf of our seniors living in these facilities, and their families, I am respectfully requesting Auditor General Doug Ringler investigate facilities’ inspection compliance,” Theis said. “We deserve to know not only the types of mandated inspections, but also how many facilities have failed to have these inspections done. People’s lives are hanging in the balance.”