OIG – Life Safety and Emergency Preparedness Deficiencies: 18 of 20 Texas NHs

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

According to a OIG Report in Brief – February 2020, deficiencies related to life safety and/or emergency preparedness were found in 18 of the 20 nursing homes audited – 235 specifically related to life safety requirements and 55 related to emergency preparedness requirements.  “As a result, residents at the 18 nursing homes were at increased risk of injury or death during a fire or other emergency.”

OIG selected a nonstatistical sample of the 1,229 nursing homes in Texas that participated in Medicare or Medicaid based on proximity to the Gulf of Mexico (116 facilities met this criteria) and with the highest number of deficiencies previously identified by Texas survey teams.  OIG conducted unannounced site visits from February through May 2019, checking for life safety violations and reviewing the facility’s emergency preparedness plans.

The complete report, 22 pages in length, is an eye-opener and should be reviewed by all long-term care facilities within and outside of Texas.  The report is sobering, in particular beginning on page 7 of the overall report.  Where would your facility be in terms of compliance with life safety and emergency preparedness?   Would you have better results?

“(OIG) recommend(s) that Texas follow up with the 18 nursing homes to verify that corrective actions have been taken regarding the life safety and emergency preparedness deficiencies identified in this report. Texas agreed with (OIG) findings and indicated that it would follow up with the 18 nursing homes to verify that the deficiencies have been corrected. Texas also indicated that it developed training covering maintenance of areas where we found deficiencies and guidance for nursing home staff on how to develop an emergency preparedness plan. Training courses for maintenance and emergency preparedness were provided in Corpus Christi, Texas, in December 2019, and additional training courses are scheduled to be provided in other Texas cities during 2020.”

Appendix A of the report contains the details of the OIG audit scope and methodology.  Appendix B summarizes the deficiencies identified at each nursing home: