Gov.’s Budget Plan Aims To Boost Accountability at Calif. Nursing Homes
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) newly revised budget plan includes provisions that would reduce funding for California nursing homes that fail to meet state staffing standards, California Watch/San Jose Mercury News reports.
The provisions aim to hold nursing homes more accountable for state funding.
In 2004, California passed a law that increased nursing home funding by nearly $1 billion in an attempt to boost wages and staffing levels. However, the legislation included few measures to ensure that the funding was spent as intended.
Last month, a California Watch investigation found about 230 nursing homes that received the increased funding either lowered wages, cut staff or fell below the state's minimum staffing levels.
Schwarzenegger's budget plan calls for the state to audit staffing levels at each of California's approximately 1,000 nursing homes over the next two years.
The proposal also would establish a new fundÂ to collect money from all nursing homes and return it to facilities that meet quality standards.
The state also plans to conduct a satisfaction survey of nursing home residents, their families and staff. The results of the survey could be used to help determine incentive payments.
Covering Legal Fees
The April California Watch investigation also found that more nursing homes have appealed state-issued citations since the state started covering legal fees for the challenges.
Toby Douglas, deputy director of the Department of Health Care Services, said that the department will strengthen restrictions on which challenges they will reimburse.
State officials said they plan to work with nursing home leaders and patient advocates to finalize the new proposal before budget negotiations get underway in the state Legislature.
The plan would need to be approved by the Assembly and Senate (Jewett, California Watch/San Jose Mercury News, 5/17).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.