On March 30, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the launch of 10 regional Elder Task Forces, including one in Washington state, for the purpose of coordinating and enhancing efforts to pursue nursing homes “that provide grossly substandard care to their residents.” The Elder Justice Task Forces will include representatives from the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, state Medicaid Fraud Control Units, state and local prosecutors’ offices, the Department of Health and Human Services, state Adult Protective Service agencies, Long Term Care Ombudsman programs and law enforcement.

The Task Forces will be launched in the Western District of Washington, Northern District of California, Northern District of Georgia, District of Kansas, Western District of Kentucky, Northern District of Iowa, District of Maryland, Southern District of Ohio, Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Middle District of Tennessee. The DOJ announced that its coordinated effort is intended to hold “bad actors in the nursing home and long-term care industry accountable for their treatment of the elderly.”  View the DOJ’s announcement.

The DOJ has stated that it may also investigate allegations against other long term care providers, such as assisted living providers, which fall within the Task Forces’ region or jurisdiction. American Health Care Association (AHCA) President and CEO Mark Parkinson characterized the national effort as “a smokescreen aimed at finding cost-cutting measures that would threaten life-improving post-acute and LTC services for millions of seniors.” Although AHCA supports efforts to improve care and “weed out bad actors,” he said, “today’s announcement mistakenly conveys that quality is on the decline.”