Nursing Home Complaint Investigation Improvement Act Heads to Governor’s Desk

The Nursing Home Complaint Investigation Improvement Act (AB 399), authored was approved last week in the Assembly Health Committee by a vote of 10-0. The legislation would fight abuse and neglect by improving the quality and timeliness of nursing home complaint investigations. AB 399 has over 30 registered supporters including the AARP, Congress of California Seniors, Gray Panthers, and Bet Tzedek Legal Services. There is no registered opposition.

According to the California Chronicle, AB 399 would require the Department of Health Services (DHS) to complete investigations within 40 working days; send complainants a written summary of findings about their complaint; investigate facility-reported complaints of abuse and neglect within the same time frames as public complaints; and extend the number of days a complainant has to seek an informal conference from five business days to 15 days after receipt of the determination.

“Today’s vote is an important step toward restoring public confidence in California’s nursing home oversight system,” said Michael Connors of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR). “Timely DHS investigations will help ensure that nursing home residents are protected from further neglect and abuse once it’s been reported.”

Supporters of the law are urged to write Governor Schwarzenegger as soon as possible and urge him to sign AB 399 into law.