CHA News Article

Budget Gives CDPH New Investigation Timelines
Also adds L&C positions to address survey activities

The 2015-16 state budget provides the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Licensing and Certification (L&C) Division with 237 additional positions to assist with its workload, including addressing “past failures to complete its survey workload and close/complete complaint investigations.” In addition, the budget increases hospital fees and adjusts the timelines for CDPH to complete investigations of skilled-nursing facilities (SNFs).

Many provider fees were increased in the budget to correspond to the associated survey activity within each type of provider (hospital, clinic, etc.). Hospitals and SNFs will likely experience increased survey and investigation activities as L&C will have additional staff to complete this work. In addition, providers fees may increase in coming years as the L&C workload continues to increase.

Beginning in July 2016, L&C will be required to complete SNF complaint investigations involving a threat of imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm within 90 days, though the time frame can be extended an additional 60 days in extenuating circumstances. The facility and complainant would then be notified in writing of the basis for the extension and estimated completion date. This standard will apply to all complaints in SNFs beginning in July 2018.

Currently, the law requires L&C to notify the hospital and complainant if it cannot complete the investigation of events with an ongoing threat of imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm within 45 days. If the time frame cannot be met, L&C must provide the facility and complainant written notice of extenuating circumstances and why it cannot complete the investigation on time, as well as an estimated completion date.

The changes in the law can be found in SB 75 (Committee on Budget), the omnibus health trailer bill.