Governor Signs Bill Protecting Residents of Long Term Care Facilities
Governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown has signed legislation authored by Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) that seeks to protect residents of long-term health facilities by ensuring notices of discharge are sent to the local Long Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman program.
“Complaint investigations of improper, unsafe and illegal discharges are a growing problem all across the state.” Weber said. “This bill is aimed at providing these residents an extra level of protection by informing the local LTC Ombudsman Program of the discharge.”
According to the national ombudsman reporting system, the California Long Term Care Ombudsman program investigated 1,504 complaints regarding discharges in 2016, compared to 892 complaints in 2012, and 1,154 complaints in 2015.
AB 940 requires that whenever a resident of a skilled nursing facility is given written notice of discharge, a copy of that same discharge notice is sent within 24 hours to the Local Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman Office. This would provide an opportunity for the ombudsman to intervene if the discharge is deemed unsafe or illegal.
Other provisions of the bill include:
- Failure of skilled nursing facility to report the transfer to the Long Term Care Ombudsman would constitute a violation for purposes of a Department of Health issued citation. If it is determined that the failure of the skilled nursing facility to submit notices to the Long Term Care Ombudsman was willful, this would authorize the Department of Health to impose a penalty
- If a resident is subject to a facility-initiated transfer to a general acute care hospital on an emergency basis, the facility shall provide a copy of the notice to the ombudsman as soon as practicable
- If a resident is notified in writing of a facility-initiated transfer or discharge from a long-term health care facility, the facility shall also send a copy of the notice to the local long-term care ombudsman at the same time the notice is provided to the resident or the resident’s representative