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'Long Shattered' 

Editor:

Well written article Ms. Stansberry ("The Death of Jeannie Newstrom," Aug. 4).

I licensed and monitored Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly in Humboldt County for Community Care Licensing during the period 1989 through 1996 and other facility types until 1999, whereupon I transferred to Sacramento to work in various capacities within CCL's statewide administrative offices of oversight until my retirement in 2006. I originally licensed Ms. Chamberlin and oversaw the facility operation of Ms. Winogradov, as well.

Mr. Clawson established Humboldt residency during the early 1990s and worked to build prominence in the care-providing community during my Humboldt assignment there also.

Elder abuse in all its forms is going to happen regardless whether a "system" of oversight is in place or operates effectively. We can only hope for early and effective intervention by which to stem the tide. Speaking from my CCL experience, that division of the California Department of Social Services has declined in appalling fashion over the past 25 years. State budget shortfalls led to relaxed standards regarding the type and frequency of mandatory face-to-face oversight of facility operations. Legal staff shortages forced the Department of Social Services (DSS) to severely limit and prioritize the cases they proceeded to administrative hearing with. DSS training for licensing program analysts was discontinued and the department's training center closed.

Continuing education for licensees was turned over to the private sector and became, in some instances, educational scams and/or little more than excuses to write off ocean cruises and resort vacations as IRS-sanctioned professional "training" deductions for licensees. Here's another little bit of knowledge: If you are persistent enough in applying for licensure, the department will (in almost every instance) grant you one — no matter how hopeless you appear in meeting the challenge. Anything to avoid the cost and expense of formally denying your application and (should you appeal) having to take the costly step of pursuing legal action to deny you your dream (no matter how illogical it seems).

Bed shortages and dysfunctional operation within most skilled nursing facilities led to the allowance of more serious medical conditions and even hospice care within CCL facilities. The medical continuum of care as we once knew it has been long shattered. Professional licensing boards are ineffective. The system has clearly failed to meet the needs of those most distressed.

If you are a prospective consumer of community care services for your loved ones, do your homework first and keep your fingers crossed.

Tim Worley, West Sacramento

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