Report 2014-111 Recommendation 17 Responses
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)
Recommendation #17 To: Public Health, Department of
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.
1-Year Agency Response
CDPH has developed a tracking log to monitor the contractor's performance and updates the log monthly.
In addition, CDPH has scheduled quarterly meetings with DHCS to review the status of the hearings. Meeting dates as follows:
- October 6, 2015
- January 14, 2016
- April 6, 2016
- July 6, 2016
- October 5, 2016
- Completion Date: May 2015
- Response Date: November 2015
California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented
6-Month Agency Response
CDPH has developed a tracking log to monitor the contractor's performance. This log is updated monthly.
- Completion Date: May 2015
- Response Date: July 2015
California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending
Although Public Health's response states that it has developed a tracking log to monitor the contractor's performance, Public Health did not provide the tracking log and does not describe what is included in the tracking log or how the log will be used to monitor its contractor's performance with the contract terms. Also, in August 2015, Public Health indicated to us that it plans to set up quarterly meetings with its staff to review the tracking log but has not set the dates of the meetings.
- Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation
- Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation
60-Day Agency Response
The statutory provision that governs Administrative Hearings for CDPH is Section 131071 of the Health and Safety Code, which states that notwithstanding any other provision of law, CDPH will conduct hearings pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act and Section 131071. Those provisions do not designate specific deadlines for setting or conducting hearings.
CDPH will review and monitor the contract.
- Response Date: December 2014
California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: No Action Taken
As we state on pages 56 and 57 of the report, Public Health's interpretation of the law is incorrect for two reasons. First, rules of statutory construction provide that significance should be given to every word in a statute, which must be read in the light of its historical background and evident objective. The statutory requirements concerning time deadlines for hearings affecting these individuals specifically state that Administrative Procedures Act (APA) procedures apply unless those procedures conflict with the specific statutory provisions governing appeals by nurse assistants and home health aides. Because the statutory time deadline for hearing an appeal clearly conflicts with otherwise applicable APA provisions, we conclude that the deadline supersedes the APA.
Second, when two laws upon the same subject are passed at different times and are inconsistent with each other, the one last passed must prevail. In this case, the pertinent section referring to the APA was enacted in 2007 and has not been amended since. The section of state law prescribing the time frames for Public Health was last amended in 2013, at which time the Legislature declined to remove the 60-day time requirement, thereby evidencing an intention to preserve this provision.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.