Bill Text

Bill Information

PDF |Add To My Favorites | print page

AB-348 Long-term health care facilities: complaints: investigations.(2015-2016)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
AB348:v93#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  July 08, 2015
Amended  IN  Senate  July 06, 2015
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 28, 2015
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 27, 2015
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 14, 2015
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 18, 2015

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 348


Introduced by Assembly Member Brown
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Gipson and Mathis)

February 17, 2015


An act to amend Section 1420 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to health care facilities.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 348, as amended, Brown. Long-term health care facilities: complaints: investigations.
Existing law provides for the licensure and regulation by the State Department of Public Health of long-term health care facilities, as defined. Existing law establishes procedures to be followed when the department receives a written or oral complaint about a long-term health care facility. A complaint is defined to mean any notice to the department, other than a report from the facility, of an alleged violation of applicable requirements of state or federal law or any alleged facts that might constitute a violation. Existing law establishes the time period for which an investigation of a complaint is required to be completed, and authorizes an extension of that time period under extenuating circumstances.
This bill would require the department to apply the existing time periods for the investigation, inspection, and issuance of a citation under these provisions to a report from the facility of an alleged violation of applicable requirements of state or federal law or any alleged facts that might constitute a violation of those requirements. The bill would also require the department to analyze its compliance with the time periods for investigations on a quarterly basis and post those findings on its Internet Web site. The bill would make other technical changes to these provisions, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1420 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

1420.
 (a)  (1)  Upon receipt of a written or oral complaint, the state department shall assign an inspector to make a preliminary review of the complaint and shall notify the complainant within two working days of the receipt of the complaint of the name of the inspector. Unless the state department determines that the complaint is willfully intended to harass a licensee or is without any reasonable basis, it shall make an onsite inspection or investigation within 10 working days of the receipt of the complaint. In any case in which the complaint involves a threat of imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm, the state department shall make an onsite inspection or investigation within 24 hours of the receipt of the complaint. In any event, the complainant shall be promptly informed of the state department’s proposed course of action and of the opportunity to accompany the inspector on the inspection or investigation of the facility. Upon the request of either the complainant or the state department, the complainant or his or her representative, or both, may be allowed to accompany the inspector to the site of the alleged violations during his or her tour of the facility, unless the inspector determines that the privacy of any patient would be violated thereby.
(2)  When conducting an onsite inspection or investigation pursuant to this section, the state department shall collect and evaluate all available evidence and may issue a citation based upon, but not limited to, all of the following:
(A)  Observed conditions.
(B)  Statements of witnesses.
(C)  Facility records.
(3) (A) For a complaint that involves a threat of imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm that is received on or after July 1, 2016, the state department shall complete an investigation of the complaint within 90 days of receipt of the complaint. At the completion of the complaint investigation, the state department shall notify the complainant and licensee in writing of the state department’s determination as a result of the inspection or investigation.
(B) The time period described in subparagraph (A) may be extended up to an additional 60 days if the investigation cannot be completed due to extenuating circumstances. The state department shall document these circumstances and notify the facility and the complainant in writing of the basis for the extension and the estimated completion date.
(4) (A) For a complaint that does not involve a threat of imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm pursuant to paragraph (3) and that is received on or after July 1, 2017, and prior to July 1, 2018, the state department shall complete an investigation of the complaint within 90 days of receipt of the complaint. At the completion of the complaint investigation, the state department shall notify the complainant and licensee in writing of the state department’s determination as a result of the inspection or investigation.
(B) The time period described in subparagraph (A) may be extended up to an additional 90 days if the investigation cannot be completed due to extenuating circumstances. The state department shall document these circumstances and notify the facility and the complainant in writing of the basis for the extension and the estimated completion date.
(5) (A) For a complaint that is received on or after July 1, 2018, the state department shall complete an investigation of the complaint within 60 days of receipt of the complaint. At the completion of the complaint investigation, the state department shall notify the complainant and licensee in writing of the state department’s determination as a result of the inspection or investigation.
(B) The time period described in subparagraph (A) may be extended up to an additional 60 days if the investigation cannot be completed due to extenuating circumstances. The state department shall document these circumstances and notify the facility and the complainant in writing of the basis for the extension and the estimated completion date.
(b)  Upon being notified of the state department’s determination as a result of the inspection or investigation, a complainant who is dissatisfied with the state department’s determination, regarding a matter which would pose a threat to the health, safety, security, welfare, or rights of a resident, shall be notified by the state department of the right to an informal conference, as set forth in this section. The complainant may, within five business days after receipt of the notice, notify the director in writing of his or her request for an informal conference. The informal conference shall be held with the designee of the director for the county in which the long-term health care facility which is the subject of the complaint is located. The long-term health care facility may participate as a party in this informal conference. The director’s designee shall notify the complainant and licensee of his or her determination within 10 working days after the informal conference and shall apprise the complainant and licensee in writing of the appeal rights provided in subdivision (c).
(c)  If the complainant is dissatisfied with the determination of the director’s designee in the county in which the facility is located, the complainant may, within 15 days after receipt of this determination, notify in writing the Deputy Director of the Licensing and Certification Division of the state department, who shall assign the request to a representative of the Complainant Appeals Unit for review of the facts that led to both determinations. As a part of the Complainant Appeals Unit’s independent investigation, and at the request of the complainant, the representative shall interview the complainant in the district office where the complaint was initially referred. Based upon this review, the Deputy Director of the Licensing and Certification Division of the state department shall make his or her own determination and notify the complainant and the facility within 30 days.
(d)  Any citation issued as a result of a conference or review provided for in subdivision (b) or (c) shall be issued and served upon the facility within 30 days of the final determination. Service shall be effected either personally or by registered or certified mail. A copy of the citation shall also be sent to each complainant by registered or certified mail.
(e)  A miniexit conference shall be held with the administrator or his or her representative upon leaving the facility at the completion of the investigation to inform him or her of the status of the investigation. The state department shall also state the items of noncompliance and compliance found as a result of a complaint and those items found to be in compliance, provided the disclosure maintains the anonymity of the complainant. In any matter in which there is a reasonable probability that the identity of the complainant will not remain anonymous, the state department shall also notify the facility that it is unlawful to discriminate or seek retaliation against a resident, employee, or complainant.
(f) Any citation issued as a result of the complaint investigation provided for in paragraph (3), (4), or (5) of subdivision (a), and in compliance with Section 1423, shall be issued and served upon the facility within 30 days of the completion of the complaint investigation.
(g) The department shall apply the time periods for investigation, inspection, and issuance of a citation established in this section to a report from the facility of an alleged violation of applicable requirements of state or federal law or any alleged facts that might constitute a violation of those requirements.
(h) The department shall analyze its compliance with the time periods for investigations established in this section on a quarterly basis, and shall, on a quarterly basis, post findings from the analysis on its Internet Web site. The analysis shall provide data on the department’s performance, and shall include, at a minimum, all of the following data elements:
(1) The number of open investigations.
(2) The number of completed investigations.
(3) The number and percentage of investigations completed within the initial time period established in paragraph (3), (4), or (5) of subdivision (a).
(4) The number and percentage of investigations that required an extension authorized in paragraph (3), (4), or (5) of subdivision (a).
(5) The number and percentage of investigations that required an extension and were completed within the extended time period authorized in paragraph (3), (4), or (5) of subdivision (a).
(6) The average length of time to complete an investigation.
(7) The average length of time to complete an investigation that was not completed by the end of the extended time period authorized in paragraph (3), (4), or (5) of subdivision (a).
(i) For purposes of this section, “complaint” means any oral or written notice to the state department, other than a report from the facility, of an alleged violation of applicable requirements of state or federal law or any alleged facts that might constitute such a violation.
(j) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to diminish the state department’s authority and obligation to investigate any alleged violation of applicable requirements of state or federal law, or any alleged facts that might constitute a violation of applicable requirements of state or federal law, and to enforce applicable requirements of law.