County Must Conduct In-Home Service Assessments
Alameda County officials must determine whether patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other acute care facilities need in-home care before discharging patients without the services, a Superior Court judge ruled, the Oakland Tribune reports.
In the case, a county representative told the brother of a patient disabled by a stroke and a hospital social worker that it would take up to six months to assess the patient's need for In-Home Supportive Services. State law requires most assessments to be conducted within 30 days. The patient's brother later brought the lawsuit against the county.
Plaintiffs also argued that the county illegally refused to conduct assessments at hospitals and other care facilities.
County attorneys said the patient's assessment was scheduled to begin June 12, but the court found on Friday that the assessment was not yet complete. The patient had applied for in-home care in February and was discharged in May without being approved for the services.
The county argued that it conducts assessments in a timely manner, but an official said the assessments do not always receive "high priority."
Victoria Tolbert, the county official responsible for the assessments, last month said that the county had hired more workers to process in-home service applications and that a new phone system was being installed to improve access to care (Marcucci, Oakland Tribune, 6/27).