Kansas agency could fall short on nursing home inspections
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Officials say the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is falling behind on federally required annual inspections of 350 nursing home facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding.
The agency’s compliance record has worsened since 2015, when state employees completed surveys at nearly 80 percent of the state’s nursing facilities, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
Only 35 percent were inspected in 2017 and the state is on pace to conduct less than 40 percent this year.
Republican state Sen. Vicki Schmidt chairs the Legislature’s oversight committee on Medicaid. She said the department not being in compliance is a public safety issue.
State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, said Gov. Jeff Colyer’s administration should be alarmed about the lack of required inspections and volume of complaints.
Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Tim Keck said the agency needs more inspectors to comply with the federal requirements. He said the agency has had 17 health facility inspector vacancies on its 60-person staff.
“That number won’t come down overnight,” Keck said. “We just need more people to do surveys.”
Keck said attracting more employees to perform inspections would require an infusion of cash from the Legislature to upgrade salaries. He said that the agency has also explored many options for closing the inspection gap and welcomes innovative ideas from lawmakers to resolve the problem.