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⭒ News & Notes Archive

January 2015

In this Issue

Paramount Meadows fined $75,000 for Resident Death

Paramount Meadows Nursing Center in LA County was hit with a $75,000 fine and class “AA” citation over the death of a resident. The Department of Public Health cited Paramount Meadows for its inadequate patient care, after a 66-year-old woman died from a bladder infection contracted at the facility, despite her repeated complaints of pain and diarrhea. Click here for the full DPH investigation.

MacLay Health Center fined $75,000 for Resident Death

MacLay Healthcare Center in LA County was also issued a $75,000 fine and “AA” citation for the death of a female resident. The woman entered the facility with a history of urinary tract infections, dehydration, and trouble swallowing. The staff repeatedly failed to administer the amount of fluids required by her nutrition plan. Nine days after she was admitted, she was found unresponsive in her room and taken to the hospital, where she died five days later. Click here for the full DPH investigation.

Governor Seeks Hundreds of New Positions for Department of Public Health

Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed budget for FY 2015-16 would add more than $30 million and about 260 positions for the Licensing & Certification Division of the California Department of Public Health and its subcontract with Los Angeles County.

The explanation for the increase is shocking. One would expect that there must have been a huge increase in its workload to justify such an enormous expansion of its workforce, but that is not so. According to the Department’s Budget Change Proposals, the Department is requesting the new positions primarily because its prior methodology for assessing its staffing needs failed to consider that inspectors were needed to investigate its vast backlog of complaints or to finish complaint investigations and write reports after onsite visits were conducted. Even with all of the new positions, the Department estimates it will take approximately four years to complete the current pending investigation workload.

In other words, the Department allowed thousands of complaints involving nursing home abuse and neglect to languish for years because its leaders could not competently perform the most basic assessment of its staffing needs. Some of these failed leaders remain at the Department and should be replaced by qualified and competent managers before it is awarded any more money.

CANHR calls on Governor Brown to swiftly appoint a new leadership team at the DPH. The new leaders should have the qualifications, experience and will to build the Licensing & Certification Division into a premier consumer protection agency that will protect the interests of nursing home residents and patients of other health facilities throughout California.

Superior Court Judge Orders Timely Decisions on Medi-Cal

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo ruled on January 20 that if California’s Department of Health Care Services cannot process a Medi-Cal application within its 45-day deadline, then it must grant applicants who are likely eligible with provisional health benefits. This lawsuit, which was filed in September 2014, accused the Department of leaving hundreds of thousands of Californians without vital health care benefits, while their applications lingered well beyond the 45-day deadline set by law. Current Medi-Cal applicants who have been waiting more than 45 days should contact the Health Consumer Alliance for assistance, at 1-888-804-3536.

U.S. District Court Strikes Down Fair Labor Standard Act Rules

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon has struck down part of a Department of Labor regulation that would have expanded federal minimum wage and overtime requirements to home care workers. Currently, agencies employing home care workers for disabled or elderly individuals have been exempt from requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act, based on a “companionship services” exemption.

While the DOL has filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, current regulations will remain in effect for the time being. Click here for more information.

CMS Issues Guidance on CPR in Nursing Homes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has revised its guidance to surveyors to clarify a nursing home’s obligation to provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). The revised guidance states that CPR certified staff must be available at all times. Staff must maintain current CPR certification through a CPR provider whose training includes hands-on practice and in-person skills assessment; online-only certification is not acceptable. Prior to the arrival of emergency medical services (EMS), nursing homes must provide basic life support, including initiation of CPR, to a resident who experiences cardiac arrest in accordance with that residents advance directives or in the absence of advance directives or a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. Click here for more information.

Reporting Complaints or Concerns regarding Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs)

The Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division (CCL) has launched a Centralized Complaint Unit. To file a complaint regarding an RCFE, community care or child care facility, call 1-844-LET-US-NO [1-844-538-8766]. Consumers may also still file complaints with their local offices here.

Pursuant to SB 895, a CANHR sponsored bill that was part of the RCFE Reform Act of 2014, CCL has created a poster that RCFEs are required to display in their main entryway. Click here to view the poster, which contains information on the appropriate reporting agency in case of a complaint or emergency.

New VA Pension Numbers Released for 2015

The Veterans Administration has published its 2015 pension rates, reflecting a 1.7% cost of living increase from 2014. 

Upcoming Events

March 13: Napa Dementia Care Symposium

On March 13, CANHR will co-host its 12th Dementia Care Symposium in Napa. The event will feature Dr. Jonathan Evans, former President of the American Medical Directors Association, and Tena Alonzo, co-director of palliative care for advanced dementia at the Beatitudes in Phoenix, AZ. Both speakers will discuss dementia care that is based on comfort and avoids psychotropic drugs. 


February 23 & 25: Dementia Care California: Sustaining Momentum and Success

On February 23 in Sacramento and February 25 in Pasadena, the California Partnership to End Unnecessary Antipsychotic Use and Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes, through the California Culture Change Coalition, is hosting two dementia care training events.