ProPublica just released a report compiling inspection statistics for nursing homes across the United States. They encourage news organizations to use their data for free, as long as it is credited to ProPublica. How does your state stack up?
One of their graphics shows the states with the most "serious deficiences;" those include several states with GateHouse papers: New York, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisana, Illinois, Tennessee, California and West Virginia. Serious definciences are issues that are classified as leading to "immediate jeopardy to resident health or safety," and "actual harm that is not immediate jeopardy."
Even if your state isn't on the "serious deficiencies" list, you can still do a story, like this one in the Las Cruces (NM) Sun News:
"LAS CRUCES - Deficiencies are not something you expect when looking for a nursing home or rehabilitation facility for your loved one.
"But they do happen - whether it's a lack of follow up after a patient is discharged, failing to provide recommended care, housekeeping or paperwork issues, or unknowingly hiring employees with a history of mistreating residents.
"Fortunately, it happens much less in New Mexico than in some other states, according to a database released Tuesday by ProPublica, a public-interest journalism group."
This story would be a great, quick regional story, with a mainbar written by a single reporter, then shared among papers in the state and localized by community.