Report 2014-111 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2014-111: California Department of Public Health: It Has Not Effectively Managed Investigations of Complaints Related to Long-Term Health Care Facilities (Release Date: October 2014)

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Recommendations to Public Health, Department of
Number Recommendation Status
1

To protect the health, safety, and well-being of residents in long-term health care facilities, Public Health should improve its oversight of complaint processing. Specifically, by January 1, 2015, Public Health should establish and implement a formal process for monitoring the status and progress in resolving open facility-related complaints and ERIs at all district offices. This process should include periodically reviewing a report of open complaints and ERIs to ensure that all complaints and ERIs are addressed promptly.

Fully Implemented
2

To protect the health, safety, and well-being of residents in long-term health care facilities, Public Health should improve its oversight of complaint processing. Specifically, by January 1, 2015, Public Health should improve the accuracy of information in the spreadsheet that PCB uses to track the status of complaints against individuals and review the reports of open complaints to ensure that all complaints are addressed promptly.

Fully Implemented
3

To protect the health, safety, and well-being of residents in long-term health care facilities, Public Health should improve its oversight of complaint processing. Specifically, by May 1, 2015, Public Health should establish a specific time frame for completing facility-related complaint investigations and ERI investigations and inform staff of the expectation that they will meet the time frame. Public Health should also require district offices to provide adequate, documented justification whenever they fail to meet this time frame.

Not Fully Implemented
4

To protect the health, safety, and well-being of residents in long-term health care facilities, Public Health should improve its oversight of complaint processing. Specifically, by May 1, 2015, Public Health should develop formal written policies and procedures for PCB to process complaints about certified individuals in a timely manner. These policies and procedures should include specific time frames for prioritizing and assigning complaints to investigators, for initiating investigations, and for completing the investigations. Public Health should also inform staff of the expectation that they will meet these time frames. It should require PCB to provide adequate, documented justification whenever PCB fails to meet the time frames.

Not Fully Implemented
5

To ensure that district offices address ERIs consistently and to ensure that they investigate ERIs in the most efficient manner, Public Health should assess whether each district office is appropriately prioritizing ERIs. Specifically, it should determine, on a district-by-district basis, whether district offices' assigning ERIs a priority level that requires an on-site visit is justified. This assessment should also determine whether each district office is prioritizing ERIs appropriately when determining that on-site investigations are not necessary.

Fully Implemented
6

To ensure that district offices address ERIs consistently and to ensure that they investigate ERIs in the most efficient manner, Public Health should use the information from its assessment to provide guidance to district offices by October 1, 2015, on best practices for consistent and efficient processing of ERIs.

Fully Implemented
7

To ensure that district offices address ERIs consistently and to ensure that they investigate ERIs in the most efficient manner, Public Health should review periodically a sample of the priorities that district offices assign to ERIs to ensure compliance with best practices.

Not Fully Implemented
8

To protect the residents in long-term health care facilities from potential harm, Public Health should ensure that its district offices have adequate staffing levels for its licensing and certification responsibilities, including staffing levels that allow prompt investigations of complaints. Specifically, Public Health should continue working with CalHR to complete the reclassification of district offices' investigator supervisor and manager positions and then quickly fill the vacant positions at district offices.

Not Fully Implemented
9

To protect the residents in long-term health care facilities from potential harm, Public Health should ensure that its district offices have adequate staffing levels for its licensing and certification responsibilities, including staffing levels that allow prompt investigations of complaints. Specifically, Public Health should complete by May 1, 2015, a staffing assessment to identify the resources necessary for district offices to investigate open complaints and ERIs and to promptly address new complaints on an ongoing basis. Public Health should use this assessment to request additional resources, if necessary.

Fully Implemented
10

To protect the residents in long-term health care facilities from potential harm, Public Health should ensure that its district offices have adequate staffing levels for its licensing and certification responsibilities, including staffing levels that allow prompt investigations of complaints. Specifically, by January 1, 2015, Public Health should establish a time frame for fully implementing the recommendations that its consultant identified related to the processing of complaints about long-term health care facilities.

Fully Implemented
11

Public Health should take steps to ensure that PCB has the resources necessary on an ongoing basis to complete investigations of complaints against individuals. Specifically, Public Health should assess whether the temporary resources it has received are adequate to reduce the number of open complaints to a manageable level. This assessment should also determine whether permanent resources assigned to PCB are adequate to address future complaints. Public Health should use this assessment to request additional resources, if necessary.

Fully Implemented
12

To ensure that its district offices properly investigate complaints and ERIs, Public Health should make certain that all district offices follow procedures requiring supervisory review and approval of complaint and ERI investigations. If the district offices do not have a sufficient number of supervisors to review investigations they did not conduct, Public Health should arrange to assist the districts until such time that they do have a sufficient number of supervisors.

Not Fully Implemented
13

To make certain that its district offices comply with federal requirements regarding corrective action plans, Public Health should establish a process for its headquarters or regional management to inspect district office records periodically to confirm that they are obtaining corrective action plans according to the required time frame and verifying that facilities have performed the corrective actions described in the plans when required.

Not Fully Implemented
14

To ensure that it has closed complaints and ERIs appropriately, Public Health should take steps by April 2015 to verify that complaints that its field operations branch closed administratively were closed appropriately. For example, it could request the district offices to verify that the closures were appropriate.

Not Fully Implemented
15

To improve oversight of its district offices' complaint and ERI investigation process, Public Health should increase its monitoring of the district offices' compliance with federal and state laws as well as with its policies. For example, Public Health could accomplish this by directing its regional managers to spend more time at the district offices to enforce district office compliance with policies, or by directing its quality improvement section to review a random sample of investigations for quality and adherence to policy. Public Health should further establish a formal process to review periodically LA County's compliance with the terms of its contract, including compliance with the terms for investigating complaints.

Fully Implemented
16

To better protect the safety of residents in long-term health care facilities, Public Health should direct its district offices to comply with required time frames for initiating and closing completed investigations. If a district office lacks sufficient resources to initiate or close investigations within those time frames, Public Health should arrange to assist that district until such time that the district complies with the statute.

Fully Implemented
17

To make certain that it complies with statutory time frames for adjudicating appeals related to individuals, Public Health should establish a process to monitor its contractor's performance with contract terms.

Fully Implemented
18

To ensure that the Legislature promptly receives information about the timeliness of Public Health's complaint processing related to long-term health care facilities, Public Health should continue to include all of the statutorily required information in its annual report and submit it by the due date.

Fully Implemented


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