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Hold agency accountable before giving more money

It is no secret our region’s population is aging, and that more families are having to make difficult decisions about the best place for older relatives to live. That decision is made no easier by the knowledge that Ohio is far behind federal guidelines when it comes to inspections of nursing homes.

Of course, the folks in Columbus are placing part of the blame for that lapse on the high turnover rate among inspectors.

But still, it is taking an average of 13.5 months between inspections of these facilities. That is a mind-boggling amount of time to let problems arise. Frankly, the 12.9 months or less recommended by the feds isn’t much better. But remember, 13.5 is an average. It is hard to know what the high end of the time frames looks like.

Health Department officials were quick to point out they are improving. Back in 2015, the average time between inspections in Ohio was 14.4 months. And, they say they prioritize inspections that may be needed to quickly investigate complaints of someone being harmed or at risk of being harmed.

How do the bureaucrats propose lawmakers help them get back on track in performing this vital function? You guessed it. They say they need more money. Legislators are considering the matter.

Among their considerations should be whether Ohio’s Health Department can demonstrate it is running as efficiently as possible; that it is working to get the job done, rather than just to shore up the number of jobs taxpayers fund. Buckeye State families deserve better than to continue to doubt whether their loved ones are living in a facility that receives proper oversight, while lawmakers hand over even more of their money.

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