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Ducey Vetoes Bill, Shuts Board That Regulates Arizona Nursing Homes Administrators

Published: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - 2:21pm
Updated: Friday, May 7, 2021 - 3:45pm

On Monday, Gov. Doug Ducey vetoed a bill that would’ve allowed the board that regulates leadership at long-term care facilities to continue. Instead, he wants to transfer those responsibilities to the Arizona Department of Health Services. It’s unclear when or how that’ll unfold. 

Will Humble is the executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association.

"Well, let me start by saying that for once I do agree with Governor Ducey that it's really all about accountability," Humble said. 

But Humble has concerns.

"By simply transferring the authority to the Department of Health Services without giving the proper kind of oversight direction, and underline the word resources, I don't see how we're going to get any kind of different results," he said.

Humble pointed to a 2019 Auditor General report that found DHS had failed to investigate some long-term care facility complaints. 

"It's a pretty damning report," he said.

Dana Kennedy, state director of AARP Arizona, also hopes this is a step in the right direction, but she wants the state to go even further. 

"We would like an audit of our long term care facility systems," she said. "And it should look at licensing, it should look up the ombudsman program, it should look at the inspectors, it should look at training of the direct care workers."

Ducey’s veto came after the Arizona Republic detailed how the board granted a license to a person convicted of a felony and failed to investigate complaints in a timely manner.