On March 24, the Assembly Committee on Health and the Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care held a three-hour oversight hearing on nursing home oversight by the Department of Public Health. The hearing posed the question: What progress is being made to improve nursing home oversight in California? Pat McGinnis, CANHR’s Executive Director, testified that no progress has been made and that nursing home oversight today is as bad as it has ever been due to profound leadership failures at the Department.
With the exception of the Department’s representative, witness after witness and legislator after legislator spoke about the Department’s oversight failures and the need for accountability and strong leadership. Elaine Howell, the California State Auditor, urged the Department to set clear timelines for completing nursing home complaint investigations. A number of witnesses and legislators spoke in favor of AB 348, a bill authored by Assembly Member Cheryl Brown and sponsored by CANHR that would set deadlines for completing complaint investigations.
Several legislators expressed deep frustration with the Department’s oversight failures and its resistance to accountability. Assembly Member Brown, who co-chaired the hearing, stated she is “embarrassed by this disgrace,” and said the Department’s performance “does not do justice to the people of California.” In her closing comments, she urged the establishment of a deputy-level appointee over Licensing and Certification and said it may be necessary to call upon the courts to install a third party overseer if there is any further erosion in the Department’s oversight of nursing homes.