Audit of California Long Term Care Management Approved
The management of California long term care facilities is about to get a much closer look.
Audit of System Management
At the request of California legislator Mariko Yamada (D- Davis), the state’s management of long term care facilities will undergo an audit. Yamada is the chair of the Aging and Long Term Care Committee. Her request came after a hearing in January, in which reports of a backlog of complaints dated months and years back that had yet to be addressed by the system.
This report of unaddressed complaints related to safety, neglect, and even abuse raised many questions about the quality of care being provided in long term care facilities throughout the state of California.
Findings of Investigation
A recent investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that the California Department of Public Health dismissed almost 1,000 complaints of violence and misconduct in statewide facilities. That same investigation found that an “overwhelming majority” of complaints had been closed without any action, bringing about serious concerns of how the state is handling complains and whether or not abuse and violence is continuing without consequence.
Her request to audit the California Department of Public Health’s Licensing and Certification Division’s handling of long term care facilities and their complaints was approved by the California Legislature’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee, or “JLAC” last week.
“With this approval from JLAC, we are making progress toward understanding the barriers that prevent the Department of Public Health from completing timely investigations of allegations of abuse and misconduct at our long-term care health facilities,” Yamada stated. “This audit request should help re-focus a commitment to quality and safety, and restore confidence that that the state of California will respond quickly and decisively when a vulnerable individual’s health or safety is in jeopardy.”
Addressing Needs of California Long Term Care Residents
Yamada has also recently introduced AB 1816, a bill which would require an investigation of a complaint to be completed within 40 working days of when the complaint was received. The law currently requires that an investigation be initiated within 2-10 days of when the complaint was received, but there is no designated timeframe as to when the investigation must be completed. The problems discovered in the recent investigation found that most complaints are clearly not being investigated at all, let alone given any follow through or completion.
Long term care facilities house some of the country’s most vulnerable residents and it is up to those in charge to ensure that quality care is being dispensed and complaints, particularly those of violence and abuse, are taken seriously and addressed quickly. Safety of loved ones in a long term care facility is something that many families worry about and the recent investigation in California only served to confirm some families’ fears that their loved ones concerns were not being considered at all.
You can read the full text of the proposed bill AB 1816 here.