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Infection Lapses Are Rampant in Nursing Homes but Punishment is Rare


So says a Los Angeles Times and Kaiser Health News headline for an article published on December 21, 2017. The article reports that 74 percent of the nation’s nursing homes have been cited for infection control violations during the last four years. In California, nearly 90 percent of nursing homes have been cited.

The life threatening nature of infections in nursing homes is unquestioned. The government has estimated that as many as 380,000 nursing home residents die each year due to infections. Despite the deadly consequences, the article states inspectors labeled infection control violations as serious for only 161 of the 12,056 nursing homes they have cited since 2014. Treating these violations as minor problems allows nursing homes to avoid any penalties even when they violate the requirements year after year.