DOWNTOWN—Cincinnati is out of the business of inspecting and licensing its nursing homes.
City Council turned the authority back over to the state after the Health Department failed so miserably at two East Price Hill facilities for the poor and mentally ill.
Residents of the Westside Health Care Center and the Terrace Residential Home were found to be living in deplorable and unsafe conditions when police entered the buildings in March. They found, among other violations, exposed wiring, toilets that didn’t work in most of the residents’ rooms, soiled and ripped mattresses, and unlabeled medicines that weren’t being properly dispensed.
City inspectors were in the two facilities just days before the police search and did not record anywhere near the terrible conditions police found.
Council Member John Cranley had called the situation at the two facilities “a horrendous moral tragedy.” Other council members have also apologized for the city’s failure at protecting the residents.
The Westside Health Care Center has since closed, but the Terrace remains operating.
Last week, Abe Fischer, the owner of Westside, pleaded guilty to a laundry list of building code violations and his company was fined $5,000. In exchange for the guilty plea, charges against him personally were dropped.
Cincinnati was the only Ohio city that conducted its own inspections and licensing of nursing homes and residential-care facilities.
The state will take over the inspections beginning Jan. 1.
Council members Laketa Cole and Cecil Thomas both voted against returning to the state the authority to inspect and
license. They reminded council that state inspectors also were in both facilities and didn’t report such serious problems.
The city might not have had a choice but to relinquish its authority. The state was reviewing what happened at Westside Health Care Center and Terrace and might have seized control.