Legislature Approves Audit of Calif. Long-Term Care Facility Oversight
On Wednesday, the California Legislature's Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved Assembly member Mariko Yamada's (D-Davis) request to audit the state's management of long-term health care facilities, Lake County News reports.
The audit was requested after lawmakers received reports about a backlog of complaints about long-term care facilities (Lake County News, 3/13).
A recent Center for Investigative Reporting investigation found that the California Department of Public Health in 2009 dismissed nearly 1,000 complaints of violence and misconduct by nursing assistants and home health aides amid a growing backlog of such claims. Since 2009, an "overwhelming majority" of similar complaints have been closed without action, according to CIR.
In January, the California Assembly Committee on Health and Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care held an oversight hearing in response to complaints about regulators' ability to process abuse complaints against nursing assistants.
During the hearing, a health department official said the state has a backlog of about 700 long-term care investigations that are more than one year old. However, Patricia McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, testified that state employees said there are more than 10,000 backlogged investigations (California Healthline, 1/23).
Following the hearing, Yamada proposed a bill (AB 1816) that would require the state to complete such investigations within 40 days and requested an audit of how the state DPH conducts investigations (California Healthline, 3/4).
Yamada's Reaction to Audit Approval
In response to the approval of the audit, Yamada said, "[W]e are making progress toward understanding the barriers that prevent the Department of Public Health from completing timely investigations of allegations of abuse and misconduct at our long-term care health facilities."
She added that the audit would help to "refocus" the state's commitment to long-term care (Lake County News, 3/13).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.