Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Debate over care-home inspections continues

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

The contentious debate over conducting surprise inspections of adult residential care homes continued yesterday over House Bill 914.

The latest Senate draft of the bill would require state Department of Health officials to conduct unannounced inspections of adult residential care homes during and outside business hours at least once a year. The bill would also require criminal background checks for adults who live in the care home or provide care to residents.

The health department, which regulates care homes, currently gives care-home owners a tentative time when they will conduct an annual inspection.

Supporters of the bill say surprise inspections are critical to ensure the health and safety of care-home residents and point out that government-regulated establishments like childcare centers and nursing homes are subject to unannounced inspections.

But those representing the care-home industry are against surprise annual inspections, saying annual inspections often take several hours and that making such inspections unannounced may interfere with previously scheduled doctor appointments and outings.

Ron Gallegos, president of the Alliance of Residential Care Administrators, said in his written testimony he supports 20- to 30-minute surprise visits while keeping annual relicensing inspections announced.

The Senate Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee will make a decision on the bill, which crossed over from the House, on Friday.