Senator Chang Calls for a State Audit of Public Health Agency Oversight of Nursing Homes

Nearly half of all California COVID-19 deaths were Nursing Home Related
Monday, July 27, 2020

SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Chang (R-Diamond Bar) announced today she has submitted an official state audit request that would determine if key state departments have fulfilled their roles and responsibilities for the safe operation of Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF), as well as what changes or support the state might need to fulfill the safe operation of SNFs during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Nursing homes have become ground zero for the COVID-19 pandemic," said Senator Chang.  “It is difficult to identify a population more vulnerable than those under the care of SNFs. This is a significant problem that cannot continue, especially when we have the ability to identify the problems and demand change. We must do everything possible to mitigate this crisis.”

According to a background paper prepared by the Senate Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response, as of June 6, “at least 43.5% of those who have died from COVID-19 in California were residents or health care workers at SNFs.” In addition, 3 out of 4 California nursing home workers say staff have had coronavirus and the state recently seized control of two troubled nursing homes

The first serious outbreak to hit the United States took place in a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington where at the time 27 of 108 residents and 25 of 180 staff demonstrated symptoms.  Since then, COVID-19 positive tests and deaths have climbed across a handful of states. 

Senator Chang’s audit request is currently under review by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.