Nursing Home Advocates Critical of Governor’s Veto
Advocates for nursing home reform are criticizing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) veto of a bill (AB 399) by Assembly member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) that sought to require the Department of Public Health to investigate most complaints against nursing homes within 40 business days, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
In his veto message, the governor said the timeline is premature because state regulators already have made significant improvements in investigating complaints (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/31).
A San Francisco Superior Court judge in 2006 ordered the state to begin investigating nursing home complaints within 10 working days, as required by law (California Healthline, 10/2).
However, Mike Connors of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform said, "The court order doesn't address facility-reported incidents of abuse and neglect because current state law doesn't establish investigation timelines for them."
Connors said the vetoed legislation would have imposed timeline requirements for facility-reported incidents, which outnumber public complaints.
In April, California's state auditor found that of the approximately 17,000 nursing home complaints filed over a 21-month period, less than 40% were completed in an acceptable amount of time.
The vetoed measure had strong backing from the Legislature and did not draw opposition from the California Association of Health Facilities, which represents nursing homes (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/31).
The Department of Public Health had told the Legislature that it would have to spend an additional $6.5 million annually to complete all investigations within 40 working days (California Healthline, 10/2).