Some Health Facility Inspections Delayed
Inspections and complaint investigation delays by the Department of Health Services at California health care facilities are common throughout the state, and some facilities have not been inspected since 1991, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal reports.
Health district managers say they do not have adequate staff to oversee all hospitals, nursing homes, community clinics and homes for the developmentally disabled and ensure that the facilities meet basic quality standards.
The Business Journal reports that most health districts prioritize inspections of nursing homes, intermediate care facilities and home health agencies. Districts also try to respond within 24 hours to complaints involving immediate threats to patients, according to the Business Journal.
Scott Vivona, chief of the Bay Area field operations branch of DHS, said staffing problems began in 2001 and have been further affected by increased salaries for health care specialists at other state departments, including the Departments of Mental Health and Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Under the fiscal year 2006-2007 state budget, the licensing and certification division of DHS is expected to receive funding to create 141 new positions -- including 96 for surveyors, an increase that could help alleviate the problem (Cutland, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 3/17).