AB 1554, as amended, Skinner. Residential care facilities for the elderly.
Existing law, the California Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly Act, provides for the licensure of residential care facilities for the elderly by the State Department of Social Services and makes a violation of those provisions a crime. Existing law authorizes a person to request an inspection of a facility by transmitting notice of an alleged violation of law to the department. Existing law requires the department to review a complaint and conduct an onsite inspection within 10 days and requires the department to provide the substance of the complaint to the licensee no earlier than the time of the inspection.
This bill, beginning July 1, 2015, would make various changes to this complaint procedure, including prohibiting the department from giving a licensee advance notice of an investigation regarding a complaint and requiring the
department to conduct an onsite investigation within one working day of receiving a complaint if the complaint alleges physical abuse, sexual abuse, or a threat of imminent danger. The bill would state the intent of the Legislature that the department conduct investigations in the manner required to ensure maximum effectiveness while respecting the rights of residents and to complete an investigation, except as specified, within 90 days of receiving a complaint, or within 30 days when the complaint alleges physical abuse, sexual abuse, or a threat of imminent danger. The bill would prohibit a licensee, or officer or employee of the licensee, from interfering with or obstructing an investigation conducted pursuant to these provisions and would require the department to assess an immediate civil
begin delete penalty of $1,000end delete
per day per violation for violations of that prohibition. Because a violation of this prohibition would also be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would authorize a complainant who is dissatisfied with the department’s investigation, findings, or enforcement to file an appeal, as specified, and would require the department to inform the complainant of these appeal rights, as specified.
Existing law prohibits a licensee from discriminating or retaliating in any manner against a person receiving the services of the licensee’s residential care facility for the elderly, or against an employee of the licensee’s facility, on the basis, or for the reason that, the person or employee or any other person has initiated or participated in the filing of a complaint, grievance, or a request for inspection with the department, or has initiated or participated in the filing of a complaint, grievance, or request for investigation with the appropriate local ombudsman, or with the state ombudsman.
This bill would require the department to assess an immediate
begin delete $1,000 per dayend delete civil penalty for each violation of these provisions.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Section 1569.35 of the Health and Safety Code
2 is amended to read:
(a) Any person may request an inspection of any
4residential care facility for the elderly in accordance with this
5chapter by transmitting to the department notice of an alleged
6violation of applicable requirements prescribed by statutes or
7regulations of this state, including, but not limited to, a denial of
8access of any person authorized to enter the facility pursuant to
9Section 9722 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. A complaint
10may be made either orally or in writing.
11(b) The substance of the complaint shall be provided to the
12licensee no earlier than at the time of the inspection. Unless the
13complainant specifically requests otherwise, neither the substance
14of the complaint provided the licensee nor any copy of the
15complaint or any record published, released, or otherwise made
16available to the licensee shall disclose the name of any person
17mentioned in the complaint except the name of any duly authorized
18officer, employee, or agent of the department conducting the
19investigation or inspection pursuant to this chapter.
20(c) Upon receipt of a complaint, other than a complaint alleging
21denial of a statutory right of access to a residential care facility for
22the elderly, the department shall make a preliminary review and,
23unless the department determines that the complaint is willfully
24intended to harass a licensee or is without any reasonable basis, it
25shall make an onsite inspection within 10 days after receiving the
26complaint except where the visit would adversely affect the
27licensing investigation or the investigation of other agencies,
28including, but not limited to, law enforcement agencies. In either
29event, the complainant shall be promptly informed of the
30department’s proposed course of action.
31(d) Upon receipt of a complaint alleging denial of a statutory
32right of access to a residential facility for the elderly, the
P4 1department shall review the complaint. The complainant shall be
2notified promptly of the department’s proposed course of action.
3(e) This section shall become inoperative on July 1, 2015, and,
4as of January 1, 2016, is repealed, unless a later enacted statute,
5that becomes operative on or before January 1, 2016, deletes or
6extends the dates on which it becomes inoperative and is repealed.
Section 1569.35 is added to the Health and Safety
8Code, to read:
(a) A person may request an investigation of a
10residential care facility for the elderly in accordance with this
11chapter by making a complaint to the department alleging a
12violation of applicable requirements prescribed by statutes or
13regulations of this state. A complaint may be made either orally,
14in writing, or electronically.
15(b) (1) Upon receipt of a complaint, the department shall make
16a preliminary review. Within two working days of receiving the
17complaint, the department shall notify the complainant of the name
18of the officer, employee, or agent of the department who will
19conduct the investigation. Unless the department determines that
20the complaint is willfully intended to harass a licensee or is without
21any reasonable basis, it shall make an onsite investigation within
2210 days after receiving the complaint.
23(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), if a complaint alleges
24physical abuse, sexual abuse, or a threat of imminent danger of
25death or serious harm, the department shall conduct an onsite
26investigation within one working day of the receipt of the
28(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), if a local long-term care
29ombudsman or the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman files a
30complaint alleging denial of a statutory right of access to a
31residential care facility for the elderly under Section 9722 of the
32Welfare and Institutions Code, the department shall give priority
33to the complaint, as required pursuant to Section 9721 of the
34Welfare and Institutions Code, and contact the Office of the State
35Long-Term Care Ombudsman in the investigation.
36(4) Prior to conducting an onsite investigation pursuant to this
37section, the department shall make a good faith effort, documented
38in writing, to contact and interview the complainant and inform
39the complainant of the department’s proposed course of action and
40the relevant deadline for the department to complete its
P5 1investigation. To the extent practicable, the officer, employee, or
2agent of the department who will conduct the investigation will
3be the representative who interviews and makes contact with the
5(c) When conducting an investigation pursuant to this section,
6the department shall consult with and, to the extent practicable,
7coordinate its investigation of a residential care facility for the
8elderly with the investigation of the facility by other agencies,
9including, but not limited to, the Office of the State Long-Term
10Care Ombudsman and law enforcement agencies. Nothing in this
11subdivision shall be construed to limit the department’s ability to
12temporarily suspend an investigation if requested to do so by a
13law enforcement agency because the investigation would adversely
14affect an active criminal investigation. The department shall
15maintain written documentation of the law enforcement request
16and continue to ensure the safety of all residents. The department
17shall immediately resume any investigation that is suspended
18pursuant to this subdivision upon consent of law enforcement or
19completion of the criminal investigation.
20(d) The department shall not give a licensee advance
21an investigation conducted pursuant to this section. The substance
22of the complaint shall be provided to the licensee no earlier than
23at the time of the onsite investigation. Unless the complainant
24specifically requests that his or her own name is released, neither
25the substance of the complaint provided to the licensee, nor any
26copy of the complaint or any record published, released, or
27otherwise made available to the licensee shall disclose the name
28of the complainant.
29(e) It is the intent of the Legislature that the department shall
30conduct investigations under this section in the manner required
31to ensure maximum effectiveness while respecting the rights of
33(f) A licensee, or officer or employee of the licensee, shall not
34interfere with or obstruct an investigation conducted pursuant to
35this section. The department shall assess an immediate civil penalty
begin delete of one thousand dollars ($1,000)end delete per day per violation for violations of this subdivision. In
39addition to assessing that penalty, the department may take any
P6 1other enforcement actions authorized by this chapter for violations
2of this subdivision.
3(g) When conducting an onsite investigation pursuant to this
4section, the department shall interview any residents who are the
5subject of the complaint. Additionally, the officer, employee, or
6agent of the department conducting the investigation shall collect
7and evaluate all available evidence necessary to complete the
8investigation, including, but not limited to, the following:
9(1) Observed conditions.
10(2) Statements of witnesses.
11(3) Interviews with administration, staff, other residents, family
12members, visitors, the long-term care ombudsman, and other
13individuals or agencies that provide services at the facility who
14may have information about the complaint.
15(4) Records from the facility and any other relevant sources.
16(h) (1) The department shall complete its investigation within
1790 days of receiving the complaint. Investigation of a complaint
18alleging physical abuse, sexual abuse, or a threat of imminent
19danger of death or serious harm shall be completed within 30 days
20of receiving the complaint.
21(2) The 30-day and 90-day deadlines in paragraph (1) may be
22extended for an additional 30 days if the department has diligently
23attempted, but has not been able, to obtain necessary evidence
24related to the investigation. Whenever the department exercises
25this authority, it shall notify the complainant in writing of the basis
26for the extension, and shall include
begin delete in the notice any outstanding the
anticipated completion date.
27evidence, the sources from which the evidence has been sought,
29(3) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to diminish the
30department’s authority and obligation to investigate and enforce
31an alleged violation of state laws or regulations or any alleged
32facts that might constitute such a violation.
33(i) Within 10 days of completing the investigation of a complaint
34under this section, the department shall notify the complainant in
35writing of the department’s determination as a result of the
36investigation and of the complainant’s right to appeal the findings.
37The written notice shall describe the appeal process provided for
38under subdivision (j) and include a copy of any reports and
39documents describing violations and enforcement actions resulting
40from the investigation.
P7 1(j) (1) A complainant who is dissatisfied with the department’s
2investigation, findings, or enforcement actions resulting from the
3investigation may file an appeal by notifying the program manager
4of the officer, employee, or agent of the department conducting
5the investigation in writing within 15 days after receiving
6the notice described in subdivision (i). The program manager shall
7schedule a meeting or teleconference with the complainant within
830 days of receiving an appeal. The program manager
9shall carefully review the concerns, information, and evidence
10presented by the complainant to determine whether the
11department’s findings or actions should be modified or whether
12further investigation is necessary. Within 10 days after
13conducting the meeting or teleconference with the complainant,
14the program manager shall notify the complainant in writing of
15the department’s determinations and actions concerning the appeal
16and of the appeal rights provided in paragraph (2).
17(2) If a complainant is dissatisfied with the program manager’s
18determination on an appeal, the complainant may, within 15
19 days after receipt of this determination, file an appeal in
20writing with the
begin delete department’s Deputy Directorend delete of the Community Care Licensing Division. Within 30
22 days of receiving an appeal,
begin delete the deputy director or his or shall
23her designeeend delete
24interview the complainant, consider any information presented or
25submitted by the complainant, and review the complaint record to
26determine whether the department’s findings or actions should be
27modified or whether further investigation is necessary. No later
28than 10 days after completing this review, the deputy
29director shall notify the complainant in writing of the department’s
30determinations and actions concerning the appeal.
31(3) A complainant may be assisted or represented by any person
32of his or her choice in the appeal process described in this
34(k) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2015.
Section 1569.37 of the Health and Safety Code is
36amended to read:
(a) No licensee, or officer or employee of the licensee,
38shall discriminate or retaliate in any manner, including, but not
39limited to, eviction or threat of eviction, against any person
40receiving the services of the licensee’s residential care facility for
P8 1the elderly, or against any employee of the licensee’s facility, on
2the basis, or for the reason that, the person or employee or any
3other person has initiated or participated in the filing of a
4complaint, grievance, or a request for investigation with the
5department pursuant to this chapter, or has initiated or participated
6in the filing of a complaint, grievance, or request for investigation
7with the appropriate local ombudsman, or with the
begin delete state recognized
9pursuant to Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 9700) of
10Division 8.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
11(b) The department shall assess an immediate civil penalty in
begin delete of one thousand dollars ($1,000)end delete per day for each violation of this section. In
15addition to assessing that penalty, the department may take any
16other enforcement actions authorized by this chapter for violations
17of this section.
No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
19Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
20the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
21district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
22infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
23for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of
24the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within
25the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California