(a) The Legislature finds and declares that it is the public policy of this state to ensure that long-term health care facilities provide the highest level of care possible. The Legislature further finds that inspections are the most effective means of furthering this policy. It is not the intent of the Legislature by the amendment of subdivision (b) enacted by Chapter 1595 of the Statutes of 1982 to reduce in any way the resources available to the state department for inspections, but rather to provide the state department with the greatest flexibility to concentrate its resources where they can be most effective. It is the intent of the Legislature to create a survey process that includes state-based survey components and that determines compliance with federal and California requirements for certified long-term health care facilities. It is the further intent of the Legislature to execute this inspection in the form of a single survey process, to the extent that this is possible and permitted under federal law. The inability of the state to conduct a single survey in no way exempts the state from the requirement under this section that state-based components be inspected in long-term health care facilities as required by law.
(b) (1) (A) Notwithstanding Section 1279 or any other provision of law, without providing notice of these inspections, the department, in addition to any inspections conducted pursuant to complaints filed pursuant to Section 1419, shall conduct inspections annually, except with regard to those facilities which have no class “AA,” class “A,” or class “B” violations in the past 12 months. The state department shall also conduct inspections as may be necessary to ensure the health, safety, and security of patients in long-term health care facilities. Every facility shall be inspected at least once every two years. The department shall vary the cycle in which inspections of long-term health care facilities are conducted to reduce the predictability of the inspections.
(B) Inspections and investigations of long-term health care facilities that are certified by the Medicare Program or the Medicaid Program shall determine compliance with federal standards and California statutes and regulations to the extent that California statutes and regulations provide greater protection to residents, or are more precise than federal standards, as determined by the department. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the department may, without taking regulatory action pursuant to Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, implement, interpret, or make specific this paragraph by means of an All Facilities Letter (AFL) or similar instruction. Prior to issuing an AFL or similar instruction, the department shall consult with interested parties and shall inform the appropriate committees of the Legislature. The department shall also post the AFL or similar instruction on its Web site so that any person may observe which California laws and regulations provide greater protection to its residents or are more precise than federal standards. Nothing in this subdivision is intended to change existing statutory or regulatory requirements governing the care provided to long-term health care facility residents.
(C) In order to ensure maximum effectiveness of inspections conducted pursuant to this article, the department shall identify all state law standards for the staffing and operation of long-term health care facilities. Costs of the additional survey and inspection activities required by Chapter 895 of the Statutes of 2006 shall be included as Licensing and Certification Program activities for the purposes of calculating fees in accordance with Section 1266.
(2) The state department shall submit to the federal Department of Health and Human Services on or before July 1, 1985, for review and approval, a request to implement a three-year pilot program designed to lessen the predictability of the long-term health care facility inspection process. Two components of the pilot program shall be (A) the elimination of the present practice of entering into a one-year certification agreement, and (B) the conduct of segmented inspections of a sample of facilities with poor inspection records, as defined by the state department. At the conclusion of the pilot project, an analysis of both components shall be conducted by the state department to determine effectiveness in reducing inspection predictability and the respective cost benefits. Implementation of this pilot project is contingent upon federal approval.
(c) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b), the state department shall conduct unannounced direct patient care inspections at least annually to inspect physician and surgeon services, nursing services, pharmacy services, dietary services, and activity programs of all the long-term health care facilities. Facilities evidencing repeated serious problems in complying with this chapter or a history of poor performance, or both, shall be subject to periodic unannounced direct patient care inspections during the inspection year. The direct patient care inspections shall assist the state department in the prioritization of its efforts to correct facility deficiencies.
(d) All long-term health care facilities shall report to the state department any changes in the nursing home administrator or the director of nursing services within 10 calendar days of the changes.
(e) Within 90 days after the receipt of notice of a change in the nursing home administrator or the director of nursing services, the state department may conduct an abbreviated inspection of the long-term health care facilities.
(f) If a change in a nursing home administrator occurs and the Board of Nursing Home Administrators notifies the state department that the new administrator is on probation or has had his or her license suspended within the previous three years, the state department shall conduct an abbreviated survey of the long-term health care facility employing that administrator within 90 days of notification.
(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 188, Sec. 13. Effective August 24, 2007.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018