AARP wants Governor Doug Ducey to fund an audit of every long-term care facility in Arizona.
The request comes after the governor announced he is disbanding the board which licenses and regulates long-term care facilities.
There are more than 900,000 AARP members living in Arizona. Many of them will one day need the services of an assisted living facility.
“Hopefully it will be in the budget,” AARP’s Arizona State Director Dana Marie Kennedy said.
The governor did not extend the term of the board which oversees long-term care facilities after learning it licensed a convicted felon to be administrator of The Granite Creek Rehabilitation nursing home in Prescott. Fifteen residents died of COVID. Staff, who displayed symptoms, were forced to work.
In her letter to the governor, Kennedy wrote, “The pandemic has generated new challenges for everyone but has definitely exacerbated the existing problems in our LTC facilities.”
In an interview, Kennedy said, “We need to look at licensing of these facilities. We need to look at how much they have to pay in fines. Staffing levels and the training the staff is receiving.”
The Arizona Department of Health Services will now assume the nursing home board’s duties. As good a time as any in Kennedy’s view, to get a handle on the level of care in long-term care facilities.
“New Jersey did it in June during COVID,” Kennedy said. “They did an audit and they wanted to get to the bottom of what was happening in their long-term care facilities. I think the governor should do the same thing in Arizona.”
There are 2,200 assisted living facilities in Arizona. Kennedy says very little is known about them because they don’t have to publicly disclose their data of cases or deaths.
The governor’s office received the letter last week and has not responded to it yet.