Why Doesn't Department Of Social Services Put Meaningful Information About the Facilities It Licenses On the Web?
Thursday, March 22, 2007, 07:49 PM - Residential Care, Assisted Living, Cal. Dept of Social Services, Proposed LawsA colleague in our firm recently asked me if I could tell her how she could check the track record of a residential care facility that her father has moved to. The short answer is, “Realistically, you can't.”
California Residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) are licensed by the California Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division, Senior Care Program Offices (“DSS” for short). As part of its oversight responsibilities, DSS investigates complaints made on behalf of residents, conducts surprise inspections, generates reports, and issues citations and fines to facilities who are caught violating the licensing regulations. DSS investigates so infrequently, and sometimes so ineffectively, that many bad facilities dodge the bullet and have a clean licensing file. So if DSS has actually cited or fined a facility, or found the facility to be in violation of regulations relating to resident’s rights or resident’s care, that is something you should know about before your loved one goes to live there. Department of Social Services does not post any of this vital information on the web. The only information they post is name, license number, and number of beds. To see their website,
This is a typical entry from the DSS website, for a RCFE in Albany:
Facility No: 015600285 Capacity: 0013
License Status: Licensed
RN3 LOVING CARE HOME
906 CORNELL AVENUE
ALBANY , CA 94706
Contact: CHENG, FANGJUAN
DO: CENTRAL COAST SC/RES (14)
DO Phone: (650) 266-8800
I have no personal information about the RN3 Loving Care Home, and the point is that neither will you, just by looking at the DSS website. But you should. The only way to access the DSS information now is to go to one of the 5 DSS Senior Care Program Offices around the State (Rohnert Park, San Bruno, Woodland Hills, San Diego, and Sacramento). That’s not reasonable access to this vital public information.
Posting of citations, fines, and evaluation reports for each facility would alert unsuspecting family members about that facility, and could actually force a change for the better in how these facilities care for their residents. The New York Times recently had an article about a new website put up by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The website says that it “provides information on how well the hospitals in cities across the country care for all their adult patients with certain medical conditions, on a comparative basis.” The New York Times article described how in the year preceding the launching of this website, several prominent hospitals actually improved their performance in key aspects of their patient care for the reason that the hospitals knew that their ”score cards” would soon be on the web for all to see. The hospitals were candid in admitting that the prospective posting of the data on the website actually spurred them to improve performance.
RCFEs, like the hospitals listed on the www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov website, would very likely do a better job for their elderly residents if they knew their track record would be there on the web for all to see. There is no excuse for hiding this information from California residents and their families.
Contact Ben Partington, Program Administrator at the DSS Sacramento Office, 744 P Street, MS 10-90 Sacrament, CA 95814, fax (916) 653-9335 and Governor Schwarzenegger (click here) and let them know what you think.