HOME HEALTH CARE: Groups Demand Complaint Information
In the aftermath of Kaiser Oakland's home health care meltdown, which culminated in the death of an elderly patient, consumer advocates are wondering why state and federal agencies failed to inform the public about the "serious deficiencies" of home health care providers, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. California's Department of Health Services performed almost 100 surveys of the 944 home care providers and investigated nearly 400 complaints last year, but the agency has "no mechanism or requirement" to release its findings. "The fact is we have these problems, and there's no venue for reporting them," Celi Adams, founder of Home Care Companions, said. She added, "Nobody has the responsibility to put it out there, and it absolutely would be helpful to publish once a year what the complaints were, or the 10 worst home health agencies in the state." Daniel Zingale, interim head of the state's new Department of Managed Care, which will oversee HMOs beginning July 1, agreed, citing plans for an "easily assessable" report on managed care with information about state violations. "Shining a spotlight on the strength and failings of managed care plans may be the best tool we have to ensure the quality of care," he said. Although state reports on home health care are public record, to access them, consumers must determine which of the 13 state offices investigated a particular home health agency and request the documents in person (Wells, 5/24).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.