To ensure that it fully complies with state law regarding communication with complainants, Health Services should reassess its current practice of delaying notification to complainants about investigation results until after it receives acceptable plans of correction from cited skilled nursing facilities. If Health Services continues to support this practice, it should seek authorization from the Legislature to adjust the timing of communications with complainants accordingly.
Health Services has inserted additional guidance in its complaint investigation procedures to address our recommendation. Specifically, Health Services now requires its staff to notify complainants of the results of investigations within 10 days following the last day of the on-site inspection. Further, Health Services quality assurance process includes auditing complaint files to see if the letter was sent in a timely manner and included in the hard copy file. (2008-406, p. 10)
Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.