‘Significant Backlog of Inspectors’: Alleged Failure To Investigate Nursing Home Complaints Behind State Lawsuit

A recent lawsuit filed in federal court accuses the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) of failing to adequately inspect and investigate complaints in the state’s nursing facilities, leading to significant instances of abuse and neglect.

The lawsuit, representing five anonymous residents with mobility impairments and complex health needs, claims MDH’s inaction disproportionately harms residents with disabilities who are especially vulnerable to poor care, as reported in The Baltimore Sun.

This lawsuit comes after a series of efforts to increase MDH staffing. The lawsuit claims the department remains understaffed, continuing to neglect timely inspections and complaint investigations.

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Seeking class-action status, the lawsuit aims for judicial enforcement of annual facility inspections and timely complaint investigations. According to the lawsuit, Maryland failed to inspect over 100 of its 225 licensed nursing facilities in the past four years and has a large backlog of unresolved complaints.

“Congressional reports, as well as trade and mainstream media, have for years highlighted a significant backlog of nursing home inspections,” Joseph DeMattos, president and CEO of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland, told The Baltimore Sun.

DeMattos said that he supports state leadership but criticized the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) for its inspection backlog.

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“Nursing homes, patients, residents, and families rely on timely, focused, and collaborative inspections, which have been lacking,” he said. “Serious consideration must be given to a change in leadership at OHCQ.”

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