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Summit nursing home task force will include community members

Akron Beacon Journal - 10/8/2019

A group that will examine the condition of nursing homes and advocate for change will now include community members committed to elder care.

Summit County Council approved creating the Summit County Nursing Homes and Facilities Task Force in August. The idea for the group came about after a June report listed a Copley facility that is now closed among the worst in the nation.

Fairlawn Rehab and Nursing Center on Ridgewood Road was one of five Ohio nursing homes on a list of 88 federal "Special Focus Facilities" nationwide with the most serious history of quality of care issues. It closed this summer.

Summit County Council on Monday approved adding up to seven representatives from healthcare-centered organizations, community advocates committed to elder care or the care of people with developmental disabilities or others with related field expertise to the task force. The additional spots are meant to increase the participation of community elder care advocates and people with other related areas of expertise.

"We have had an extreme number of people interested in wanting to work on this issue and hopefully come up with some good solutions," said Summit County Council President Jeff Wilhite, who initially proposed creating the group.

Other members, appointed by the county executive and confirmed by county council, include the council president, county executive and representatives from the county's Department of Job and Family Services, Summit County Common Pleas Court's Probate Division, Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities and the Summit County Public Health.

Additional members include an owner or operator of a nursing home or facility in the county, a county resident with experience as an employee of an Ohio nursing home or facility and a county resident who is a family member of someone currently in the care of a nursing home or facility in the county. The task force also can include two ex-officio members that are representatives of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Ohio Department of Health.

Once members are appointed, they will deliberate for six months then present their findings and recommendations to County Council and the county executive in a written report. The group is expected to make recommendations for legislative actions and advocacy efforts on changes in the regulatory structure of the state and federal governments.

Wilhite said the group's first meeting should be in mid-November.

For more information on the task force, contact the Summit County Council office at 330-643-2725.

Contact reporter Emily Mills at 330-996-3334, emills@thebeaconjournal.com and @EmilyMills818.

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(c)2019 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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