California’s Department of Public Health has failed to adequately investigate complaints made at nursing homes across the state, according to an audit released last week.
According to a report in Kaiser Health News, the audit was requested after lawmakers got reports about a backlog of complaints about
long-term care facilities. The California Department of Public Health monitors more than 2,500 long-term facilities, about half of which are nursing homes that serve up to 300,000 residents.
What the Audit Found
The audit found a backlog of more than 11,000 unresolved complaints at nursing homes across California. More than 40 percent of these complaints were classified as having cause or likely to cause harm to a patient.
On average, these complaints stayed open between 14 and 1,042 days. The audit found that about 1,000 of the complaints were made against certified nurse’s aides and home health aides. In addition, the audit pointed out that the Department of Public Health was inconsistent when it came to the quality of its investigations.
What the Audit Recommends
The audit recommended that the Department of Public Health create a time frame for completing these investigations and enhance the manner in which it monitors the district offices’ compliance with laws.
It also suggests that state officials implement a better system to track complaints. The department has rejected the suggestion to put specific time frames on investigations, but has promised to increase its oversight of district offices.
How Victims Can Protect Their Rights
It is important that victims of nursing home abuse and neglect to understand their rights. We have repeatedly read audits and reports of where governmental agencies – at the national, state and local level – have dropped the ball when it comes to investigating claims of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
If you or a loved one has suffered mistreatment in these facilities, it is important that you register a complaint with the appropriate authorities and retain the services of an experienced California nursing home abuse attorney, who will help fight for your rights and ensure that the wrongdoers are held accountable.
Innocent victims should not be penalized for poor nursing home administration, unscrupulous corporations and lack of government oversight. The nursing home lawyers at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys fight for the rights of seriously injured victims of abuse and neglect. Please contact us if you would like to get more information about pursuing your legal rights.