Audit finds rusty wheelchair, dirty equipment in NY nursing homes
Sep 19, 2018
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A rusty wheelchair and a dust-covered suction machine used to remove airway fluid were among the pieces of poorly maintained medical equipment auditors discovered at 36 nursing homes across New York state.
An audit released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli says the state health department needs to do a better job making sure nursing homes are maintaining and testing medical equipment.
The health department is responsible for inspecting nursing homes.
The audit found the department completes facility inspections on time and reports deficient practices to the public, but is not looking closely enough at equipment.
"New York state is doing the bare minimum when it comes to inspecting life-saving equipment used at nursing homes," DiNapoli said in a statement.
The report does not identify the nursing homes auditors visited.
The audit found evidence that health department inspectors may not be looking at heart monitors, dialysis and electrocardiogram machines. The report says inspectors only look at a small sample of items in nursing homes.
Thirty-five of the nursing homes auditors visited did not have maintenance and service records for 177 pieces of equipment.
Auditors found a transport wheelchair covered by rust, mold and mildew in one nursing home not identified in the report. Officials at that facility told auditors they would immediately throw it out.
They also found a suction machine covered by a thick layer of dust.
Backup electric generators are necessary to power medical equipment during power outages. Auditors found 13 nursing homes did not have any documentation showing the generators were tested as required.
The Health Department disagreed with the audit's findings. It criticized the audit for not using clinical professionals trained to inspect nursing homes. "This is apparent from several inaccuracies in interpretations of the audit findings leading to OSC's (Office of State Comptroller's) conclusions and recommendations," the department said in a prepared statement.