A June 14, 2014 report by the federal Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services criticized the quality of California nursing home licensing inspections. The report, CMS’s Reliance on California Licensing Surveys of Nursing Homes Could Not Ensure the Quality of Care Provided to Medicare and Medicaid Beneficiaries, found that the California licensing inspections cannot be counted on to identify violations of state nursing home standards.
The OIG investigation focused on California nursing home standards in two areas: health examinations for nursing home employees and optional service units that provide therapy services. Based on its findings, the OIG estimated that required health examinations were not conducted for 30 percent of nursing home employees statewide in 2010 and 2011. The review of optional therapy units found that 7 of 8 sampled nursing homes provided services in these units without required state approval.
The OIG also found that the California Department of Public Health (DPH) did not conduct the required licensing inspections for half of the sampled nursing homes (four out of eight facilities) during 2010 and 2011. Despite a California law requiring these inspections, DPH officials told the OIG it had “other priorities.” CANHR has long been concerned about DPH’s failures to conduct the licensing inspections and enforce California nursing home standards.
This investigation is the latest in a series of OIG reviews that have found problems with California nursing home inspections. The two most recent reports are: Unidentified and Unreported Federal Deficiencies in California’s Complaint Surveys of Nursing Homes Participating in the Medicare and Medicaid Programs (A-09-09-00114), issued September 21, 2011, and Federal Survey Requirements Not Always Met for Three California Nursing Homes Participating in the Medicare and Medicaid Programs (A-09-11-02019), issued February 27, 2012.