Bill Requiring Public Access To Care Facility Inspection Reports Passes

by Katie Nelson, San Jose Mercury News



A bill that would require public access to inspection reports for elderly care facilities in California has been given the green light by the state Assembly, officials announced Tuesday.

SB 895, authored by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, would mandate care facilities to fix within 10 days — unless otherwise directed — any deficiencies found during inspections. The bill would also require the state Department of Social Services to post online instructions on how people may obtain facility inspection reports offline. The department would be required to make inspection reports available on its website by Jan. 1, 2020.

In addition, the bill would obligate the department to report the expected costs of conducting annual inspections of elderly care facilities and would order the department to create an informational poster that would be viewable in every facility. That poster would include information on how to file a facility-related complaint or what contacts to reach out to in case of an emergency.

Finally, the bill would require the department to notify the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman when it plans to issue a temporary suspension or revocation of a license for a care facility.

SB 895 is part of a larger legislative package that was unveiled in January to force the Department of Social Services to revise several of its practices. The legislation was prompted in part by the revelation that 19 residents at Valley Springs Manor in Castro Valley were abandoned in late October when the department abruptly shuttered the facility.

“In order to prevent another Valley Springs Manor tragedy from ever happening again, we must ensure that (care facilities) swiftly fix any deficiencies found during inspections, as well as arm residents and their families with prompt and accurate information before, during and after any facility closures,” Corbett said in a statement. “It is vitally important that California recommits itself to conducting much-needed annual inspections of assisted living facilities.”

Corbett’s bill is the first of the package to see any major success. Last week, two of the package’s bills, authored by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, and Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, were killed in the state’s senate appropriations committee due to “fiscal reasons.”

Corbett’s bill is now set to head back to the Senate for a final vote of approval.

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