Audit: Hawaii agency failed to inspect adult care homes
HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii agency tasked with regulating adult care homes issued licenses to many without completing inspections, according to a state audit.
The Office of the Auditor examined 214 of the 493 care homes licensed by the state Office of Health Care Assurance last year, finding about half were allowed to operate with either an expired license or a license “hastily issued before all required steps” were completed.
“We found that OHCA’s primary objective is to support the continued operations of those care homes, not to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the facilities’ residents as mandated by statute,” State Auditor Les Kondo said in the report.
At least eight care home had 20 or more deficiencies, but they were granted license renewals before the issues were resolved, according to the report.
Over the last decade, the state Department of Health has not cited any care home operators or terminated a license even when substantial or repeat deficiencies were found, according to the report. The agency also does not have written enforcement guidelines for operators that do not comply with care standards.
The department has corrected the deficiencies, and the report does not reflect current conditions, said Bruce Anderson, director of the health department.
“Our first and foremost obligation as a regulatory agency is to ensure residential care homes comply with all applicable laws and provide quality care in a safe environment,” Anderson said.
The department noted that it has reported 277 cases of possible abuse or neglect of care home residents over the past five years.
“Any risks to the safety, health and wellbeing of older adults in an adult residential care home are immediately investigated and appropriate action taken,” Anderson