U.S. Senate Aging Committee Denounces Nursing Home Oversight Failures

On May 18, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging released a report, “Uninspected and Neglected, Nursing Home Inspection Agencies are Severely Understaffed, Putting Residents at Risk.”  The report links significant delays in nursing home inspections and complaint investigations with poor care and resident rights violations. 

DPH Clarifies Nursing Home Complaint Substantiation

The California Department of Public Health (DPH) recently issued a District Office Memorandum (DOM) clarifying the criteria for substantiating complaints filed against nursing homes.  When someone files a complaint about a nursing home, DPH conducts an investigation and gathers evidence from three sources outlined by federal and state guidance: on-site observations, interviews, and written records.  CANHR was receiving reports that some DPH investigators were saying they could not substantiate a complaint or take enforcement action unless there was evidence from at least two of the three sources.  The new DOM clarifies that there is no requirement to have evidence from at least two of the three sources; rather complaints are substantiated when it is more likely than not that a regulatory violation occurred, considering all of the evidence taken together.  The DOM also states that long term care Ombudsmen are reliable sources of information and their observations should be considered evidence of regulatory compliance or noncompliance.