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California Nursing Home Complaints Guidelines Changed by CDPH

Alert! California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Website Change Undermines Whether Nursing Home Complaints Will Ever Be Investigated.

In the past few months, the California Department of Public Health changed how it formats online complaints that families file against health facilities, including skilled nursing facilities and elder care homes. The online field where the person making the complaint enters their contact information has been hidden from view, and as a result, nearly all complaints filed since that change occurred have been anonymous.

Unfortunately, making it more challenging to attach contact information to a complaint is terrible for victims’ families in such facilities. Complaints filed anonymously are not communicated to the facility, and the investigators charged with following up on such complaints are generally unable to get information directly from the facilities. Anonymous complaints carry very little weight because they are more likely to be seen as frivolous.

The inadvertent change to the CDPH website complaint form is awful for families looking to get the State agency involved in investigating and following up. While it is unclear when the website contact information form went from being visible to being hidden (optional), it is believed to have occurred in early 2020. It is safe to assume that if you filed a complaint this year and did not receive a letter stating that an investigation has been opened, the complaint essentially died. So, if you know of any such instance, please encourage the person making the complaint to re-file immediately!

To file a complaint against a nursing facility, go to this link and enter in the name of the Facility Name or City. When you come to the end of the form, make sure you click on the “Complainant Information (Optional)” tab and enter your contact information. If you do not choose to enter your information the DPH will not have your contact information and you can be fairly sure that your complaint will go nowhere.

The CDPH is aware of this issue, but if/when they will address it remains an open question. We can only hope they soon fix the problem.

Attorney Wendy York of York Law Firm specializes in prosecuting elder abuse and wrongful death cases.  If you have questions about California Nursing Home Complaints please contact Wendy York today!