Audit finds significant deficiencies in quality of patient care and state oversight
Sacramento — A scathing state audit released today confirms the concerns of Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood that significant deficiencies exist in the quality of patient care at audited skilled nursing facilities, specifically Brius Healthcare, owner of several facilities in the North Coast. The audit also reveals a considerable lack of oversight by state agencies which has significantly impacted patient care.
In 2016, McGuire and Wood worked together with the Humboldt community to successfully prevent two of three skilled nursing facilities, all owned by Brius Healthcare, California’s largest nursing home chain, from closing and displacing more than 100 residents. Last year, the two North Coast legislators worked together to receive approval from the Joint Legislative Audit Committee for their request that an audit be performed of skilled nursing facilities and the Department of Public Health (DPH), the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and the Office of Statewide Planning and Development (OSHPD).
The stinging findings, which were released to the public earlier today, revealed that the state has not adequately addressed ongoing deficiencies related to the quality of patient care that nursing facilities provide.
From 2006 through 2015, the number of substandard care deficiencies that nursing facilities received increased by 31 percent, yet at the same time, the number of state citations from the Department of Public Health decreased by 34 percent. The audit also showed that the Department of Public Health was slow to respond to potential patient care violations.
The State Auditor found that DHCS, OSHPD and, more specifically the Department of Public Health, should make necessary reforms to ensure its oversight results in nursing facilities improving their quality of care.
The audit also found that Brius Healthcare, which manages skilled nursing facilities on the North Coast and in Los Angeles and Marin County, has the most serious quality of care deficiencies out of the three audited companies – more than twice as high as the rate of all facilities in the industry.
“Validation of our concerns about Brius is a bitter pill. This extremely thorough audit of the industry and the agencies that oversee it shows that so much more needs to be done,” said Wood. “The watchdogs of this industry – our state agencies – need to work better together to reduce duplication of effort and that especially DPH needs to up their game when it comes to improving licensing review, increasing inspections and issuing citations in a much more timely manner to protect the residents and give families confidence that their family members are well taken care of.”
The report finds: "The State has not adequately addressed ongoing deficiencies related to the quality of care that nursing facilities provide. Public Health in particular has not fulfilled many of its oversight responsibilities, which are meant to ensure that nursing facilities meet quality-of-care standards.”
“This audit unfortunately proves what we have said all along, the quality of care by Brius must be greatly improved and their deficiencies are impacting the recovery and care of their patients. And at the state level, the agencies that are tasked with protecting patient care at skilled nursing facilities, have been slow to act and immediate reforms are needed,” Senator McGuire said. “Without adequate state oversight, the lives of skilled nursing patients in California are at risk, and we can no longer turn a blind eye. Assemblymember Wood and I will continue to work together to advance statewide reforms which will protect the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of patients.”
The State Auditor’s report can be found here: https://www.bsa.ca.gov/reports/2017-109/summary.html