Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

LA County Audit Finds Backlog in Nursing Home Complaints

Published on Apr 18, 2014 at 8:44 am in Nursing Home Abuse.

Kentucky Nursing Home AbuseA recent audit by the Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller has turned up an alarming backlog of hundreds of unresolved nursing home complaints. Kaiser Health News reports that the audit of the county’s Health Facilities Inspections Division (HFID) found nearly a thousand complaints that had been open for more than two years.

The HFID, part of the county health department, oversees nursing home safety and quality on behalf of the state and federal governments. The audit found the problems to be caused in general by a lack of central oversight.

The audit was ordered by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors after an investigation by Kaiser Health News. That investigation revealed the county health department was instructing inspectors to close cases without fully investigating them. Department officials responded that surveyors do investigate the cases but that there are often delays finalizing the reports.

Among the audit’s findings:

  • 3,044 open investigations as of March 2014;
  • This includes 945 complaints that have been open for more than two years;
  • No central management of the investigations; and,
  • Surveyors from the Health Facilities Inspections Division (HFID) don’t have set deadlines for completing cases.

The auditor emphasized that certain deadlines and time frames and benchmarks were necessary to convey to staff expected outcomes. In addition, written standards provide a framework for accountability, both for the division as a whole and for individual units and staff.

The audit revealed a wholesale lack of accountability or written standards. Managers could not even identify the number of staff who were assigned to investigate nursing home complaints. In addition, there are no standards for conducting investigations. For example, the audit noted that inspectors in one district take more than 16 hours to review a complaint, while inspectors in another district take about six hours. The county has a requirement that it start investigations within 10 days, but there is no deadline for completing them.

The delayed investigations were found across a variety of types of complaints – including those classified as “immediate jeopardy,” which means the home’s actions could cause serious injury or death to a resident.

The doctor who heads the County Department of Public Health has claimed that the backlogs are due to a lack of funds. However, Kaiser reports, the audit found that the department left millions unspent in its budget for each of the last two fiscal years.

Meet Your Team

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Legal & Firm News

When to See a Neurologist After a Car Accident

Doctors who specialize in disorders and injuries affecting the brain, spinal cord, and surrounding muscles and nerves are referred to as neurologists. For those involved in a car accident, visiting a neurologist may not be something that is initially considered. But too many people ignore the signs that their accident caused nerve damage, a spinal […]

Read More

How Climate Change May Affect Our Roads, Highways, and the Frequency of Car Accidents

On October 7, 2021, the White House announced the release of Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plans from more than 20 federal agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Transportation. These Climate Adaptation Plans detailed the methods that each agency’s facilities and operations would adopt in order to become increasingly resilient […]

Read More

Examining the Rise of Active Duty Military Suicides

For the past two decades, the question has been asked more and more frequently by researchers and the general public alike. Why is the suicide rate so high in the military? The Department of Defense Annual Suicide Report released in September 2021 showed an increase of 41.4% in active duty service member deaths by suicide […]

Read More