L.A. County Health Department Allegedly Falsified Nursing Home Probe Records

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department falsified the dates it received complaints about nursing homes as pressure rose to meet state deadlines for launching investigations, according to two employees. In a letter last month to county, state, and federal officials, inspector Kimberly Nguyen cited 11 cases in which she said the dates typed into the computer system were later than the dates the complaints were actually received. The cases mentioned in the letter involve alleged abuse, falls, and pressure sores, she said. “In my belief, falsification is a serious matter and unlawful and our department should know better to not manipulate paperwork to mislead others and the public,” Nguyen wrote in the Oct. 7 letter. In an Aug. 6 email, Sharon Geraneo, an assistant supervisor in the department, also wrote administrators to protest alleged falsification of complaint dates. She wrote that the department cites nursing homes for fraudulent record-keeping and yet, “here we are falsifying the records.” Under state law, investigations must be started within 10 days of receipt of a complaint — or 24 hours if the allegation involves the imminent threat of death or serious harm. California Department of Public Health policy requires inspectors to enter the dates based on when the complaint was first received by telephone, fax, email, or letter. In Los Angeles County, the dates of some complaints were entered much later than when they were received — by as much as 79 days, Nguyen said.

Source/more: Kaiser Health News

David Wingate, Elder Law Attorney,

Serving Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland

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