To see the federal government’s inconsistent oversight of nursing homes, one needs only to look at what happened after two residents died — one in Texas, one in South Carolina.
At a nursing home in the East Texas town of Hughes Springs earlier this year, a resident approached the nurses’ station gagging on a cookie. Attempts to clear his airway failed, and he died. Government inspectors determined that staff at the home were not trained for emergencies and did not immediately call 911.
Months earlier, in North Augusta, S.C., a resident pulled out her breathing tube and died. Inspectors faulted the home for failing to take appropriate steps to keep the resident from harming herself, even though she had pulled out the tube multiple times in the two months before she died.
In each state, inspectors working on behalf of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cited the homes for their failure to operate “in an acceptable way that maintains the well-being of each resident.” Both homes posed an “immediate jeopardy” to residents’ health and safety, inspectors determined.
But the consequences were starkly different.
Read More: ProPublica