Nursing homes are rushing to address a growing problem: clogs that can clog drains and cause health problems.
In some cases, the problem has worsened in recent years.
More than half of all nursing homes in the United States reported clogs in some way in 2015.
They are a growing concern because of the growing number of nursing home residents who live with chronic health conditions.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were 3.6 million nursing home beds and 1.7 million nursing-home residents in 2015, the latest year for which data is available.
The problem of clogs is particularly acute in older nursing homes.
A nursing home can spend up to $3,000 to $10,000 a year on a new, new clog-free drain.
In addition, the cost of replacing clogs can top $200,000.
The National Association of State and Territorial Health Officials says that nursing homes can spend $10 million to $15 million a year repairing clogs.
In a 2015 survey of nursing homes, 89% said they are working on a project to address clogs, according to the American Medical Association.
Some nursing homes have built or will soon build a clog machine that could cost between $200 and $300,000, said Mark C. Schmidhuber, president and CEO of the American Nursing Association.
He said nursing homes must be responsible stewards of their land.
“If they don’t have the expertise, they’re not going to do the right thing,” he said.
Many nursing homes use cement and other materials that clog.
Some states have taken action to improve the way they clean the water in their facilities.
The Texas Legislature passed legislation last year to require the state to replace clogs at nursing homes if they are not treated immediately.
The measure also required nursing homes to install clogs to reduce the amount of lead that can enter the community.
“It’s a very difficult thing for the community to get rid of clog,” said Amy Schleicher, who runs the community environmental health program for the Texas Health Institute at Houston Methodist.
“A lot of the time, it’s because they’re in an urban environment, or there’s a lot of other factors that are contributing to the problem.”
A new state law passed in 2016 requires nursing homes that are not complying with lead rules to clean the clogs up, including by using new clogs and replacing old clogs with new clags.
The state also has adopted regulations that require nursing homes not to have water in a faucet, toilet or sink that could collect lead.
Some state lawmakers are trying to make nursing homes pay more for clogs by raising the cost to $500,000 for the cost for clog removal and $100,000 per year for the amount they pay for clogging and replacement.
But in addition, many states have enacted stricter rules that require some types of clogging to be treated at a nursing home.
In Texas, for example, the state’s public health department requires that nursing home staff wear gloves when removing clogs from drains and to close drains when possible.
If clogs do not need to be removed, the public health officer must also sign off on the treatment plan.
For a nursing facility to comply with state lead standards, the facility must spend at least $1.6 billion over five years, according the American Association of Zoning Officials.
A recent report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that nursing-care facilities are spending an average of $2.6 to $6.6 for every $1 spent on the same type of treatment, a trend that is expected to continue as more states adopt stricter rules.
The American Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a civil rights advocacy group, said the cost is particularly burdensome for African-Americans.
“These facilities are the ones that have the least money to spend,” said Karen C. Dibbs, executive director of the advocacy group.
“They have the highest rates of chronic diseases, and the only way to pay for them is through lead.”
For many nursing homes and other facilities, the clog issue isn’t just a health issue.
It’s also a financial one.
In an interview with CNN, the American Red Cross said that many nursing-center residents struggle to make ends meet because they cannot afford to replace costly clogs or for that matter the clogging machines that clogs the drains.
For nursing homes like hers, that can mean the cost goes up every year, she said.
“You can only go so far in saving yourself,” Dibs said.