Health Services Department More Than Two Years Late in Development of Nursing Home Application Form
The Department of Health Services has failed to create a uniform admissions form for the state's nursing homes, which was required under a bill signed by former Gov. Pete Wilson (R) in 1997, the Contra Costa Times reports. The bill, the first of its kind nationwide, was passed to "protect consumers [and] to help them so they know what they are getting," according to Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-San Jose), who sponsored the legislation. Vasconcellos said he was unaware that the form, which was to have been completed in 2000, had not yet been created. The legislation requires "every skilled nursing facility, intermediate care facility and nursing facility to use a standard admission agreement developed and adopted by the department." The agreement would detail guidelines for patient care, patient rights and billing practices at nursing homes and would "give patients and their families a better understanding of ... protections provided by state law," Eric Carlson, an attorney at the National Senior Citizens Law Center in Los Angeles, said. He added that the current forms used by nursing homes contain "bold misstatements." Lea Brooks, a health department spokesperson, said the creation of such a form has been delayed because of department turnover and disagreements among members of a group assigned to create the document. The health department plans to release a draft of the form and schedule public hearings on it sometime this summer, Brooks added (Peele, Contra Costa Times, 5/30).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.