Bill Aims To Boost Transparency, Oversight of Calif. Nursing Homes
The legislation comes after a Bee investigation last year found that California consumers lack information about the ownership and performance of many California nursing homes (Lundstrom, Sacramento Bee, 2/26).
Background on Investigation
Although federal, state and not-for-profit groups track certain information about nursing homes, the investigation found that there is not a single agency that regularly assesses the quality of care provided by nursing home chains. The California Department of Public Health is tasked with overseeing skilled-nursing facilities in the state, but the agency does not measure care quality throughout a chain or try to identify whether corporate policies lead to any patterns.
Further, the Bee found that some firms have complex business structures making it difficult for consumers and government agencies to identify who is running the organizations and who should be held accountable (California Healthline, 11/11/14).
Details of Bill
AB 927, by Assembly member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), would:
- Establish stricter "suitability requirements" for nursing home owners to prevent those with a history of poor performance from acquiring such facilities;
- Require DPH to improve data on nursing home ownership that are available on its website; and
- Clarify that DPH has a duty to oversee and approve any ownership or management changes at nursing homes in the state.
The measure has support from California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, which has been pushing for more transparency of nursing home ownership data.
Patricia McGinnis, executive director of CANHR, said, "[T]oo much information is just missing right now," adding that DPH "has no idea in many, many cases who owns what. Even if they do, they certainly don't make that information available to the public."
California Association of Health Facilities spokesperson Deborah Pacyna declined to comment on the bill, but said the group "look[s] forward to working with the author" (Sacramento Bee, 2/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.