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Our Patients, Families Say Otherwise

August 22, 1993

* It is important that consumers do not fall victim to groups such as the so-called California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, which seek to capitalize upon people's emotions and fears to further their personal agenda ("State Nursing Home Deaths Blamed on Bungles" Aug. 12).

This self-appointed group, unfortunately, has a well-deserved reputation for dealing more in fiction than facts.

On behalf of the California Assn. of Health Facilities, which represents more than 1,000 licensed, long-term care facilities providing skilled nursing, intermediate and residential care for patients throughout the state, I strongly resent the overtly biased and blatantly inflammatory nature of the "report card" that intentionally distorted and misrepresented our profession.

No one can speak with more credibility about the quality of care delivered by our facilities than the hundreds of thousands of patients and families we serve each year.

A survey of family members of nursing facility residents indicates that an overwhelming 80% of the 500 people surveyed rated the care of their family members to be "good to excellent."

No other health service provider is as highly regulated as are long-term care facilities.

Each nursing facility in California has 200 to 300 hours of state on-site inspections each year to assure compliance with the more than 900 requirements.

The goal of all facilities is to restore residents' health and help them live as independently as possible. In fact, statistics show that two-thirds of all nursing residents stay two months or less. Only 16% of residents reside in facilities for one year or more.

The role of today's long-term care facility has changed dramatically and it continues to change.

As our responsibilities to society grow, our members will continue to be dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for the elderly and disabled with compassion and respect.

GARY D. MACOMBER

Executive vice president

California Assn. of Health Facilities

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