By Jon King /

A local lawmaker has requested a state audit following the tragic death earlier week of an elderly woman in Livingston County.

State Senator Lana Theis on Wednesday submitted a letter to state Auditor General Doug Ringler asking for a series of audits to comprehensively review inspection records of the state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities “during and after COVID-19 lockdowns.” According to a release from Theis, the request was prompted by the recent death of a resident of an adult foster care facility in Oceola Township. 87-year-old Althea Greene was found deceased Tuesday morning in a small clearing surrounded by woods, approximately 2,000 feet north of the Adult Foster Care facility she was a resident at on Green Road.

“This was a tragic loss of life that should not have happened,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “Sadly, over the past year, we have seen far too many Michigan seniors die at long-term care facilities, and more must be done to ensure proper inspections at these facilities are conducted.”

Theis said that, as of this past August, 60% of the state’s 435 nursing homes had gone without a standard survey inspection for nearly a year and a half. Those that have been surveyed, she said “were found to have wide-ranging compliance issues and severe deficiencies,” adding that “Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data indicate the average number of deficiencies in U.S. nursing homes is 8.3, while the reported average number found in Michigan facilities is much higher at 13.8.”

Theis’ letter, which is posted below, specifically requested the Office of the Auditor General investigate:

• The types of inspections currently mandated by the federal or state government for nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and adult foster care facilities;
• How many facilities had their mandated inspections delayed due to COVID-19 inspection policies issued by the Department of Health and Human Services;
• The number of facilities that have still not completed their inspections; and
• How many and what deficiencies are being found or reported once inspections are conducted.

“On behalf of our seniors living in these facilities, and their families, I am respectfully requesting Auditor General Doug Ringler investigate facilities’ inspection compliance,” Theis said. “We deserve to know not only the types of mandated inspections, but also how many facilities have failed to have these inspections done. People’s lives are hanging in the balance.”